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Post nuptial agreements?

(4 Posts)
minipie Mon 25-Jul-11 16:42:38

A thread on AIBU got me thinking.

Many women (some men but more women) give up work, or reduce their hours/career aspirations, when they have children. The man becomes the main breadwinner.

If the couple split up later, the woman's earnings and prospects are likely to be reduced compared with what they would have been if she'd carried on working in the same way as pre-children. (Meanwhile the man's earnings and prospects are unaffected).

Now, Xenia and others would advocate that women should refuse to compromise their careers, in order to protect themselves against this scenario.

But what about post nuptial agreements as an alternative? An agreement that says, in effect, "I'll agree to give up work and look after our DCs, on condition that if we do split up, you will compensate me financially for the fact that my earning power is reduced."

I understand that post-nups are now legally binding in the UK (as long as no duress etc was involved). Just wondered what people's reactions are? Would you enter into a post nup?

Grevling Mon 25-Jul-11 22:48:32

"I'll agree to give up work and look after our DCs, on condition that if we do split up, you will compensate me financially for the fact that my earning power is reduced."

Isn't that in effect what the divorce courts do? How would compensation be worked out. How would you peg the "woman" as a high achiever or middle achiever. You could have people saying I would have been a VP of sales by now, but how would that have been proven? What if the "woman" volunteered to give up work. My mother didn't like the idea of her children being in care so left work voluntarily. My dad would have been happy for her to go back to work to take the pressure off him but she didn't want to. Should this be considered?

Its very stereotypical and short sighted to say a "mans" earning potential is not limited by a family or children. I know lots of people that have refused to take x promotion because it involved a move, nights away from family or other factors that meant it wasn't suitable for them.

Best bet is allow both parents take equal responsibility and give 12 months of paid mat leave at SMP rates to whoever wants it and make babies a less woman only thing.

minipie Tue 26-Jul-11 13:20:56

I'm not sure what the divorce courts do TBH. However I don't think that the woman's earning power (had she not stayed at home) is taken into account. I think it's more about what is a reasonable amount for her to live on.

Which is where I suppose a post nup could come in as it could make specific provision for compensation. Obviously there are issues over proving what a woman would have earned, I agree, but courts are used to dealing with that kind of issue if necessary (it could even be estimated in the agreement itself).

I agree with you about what if it was the woman's choice (and not the man's) for her to give up work. But presumably in those situations he would not agree to sign a post nup protecting her from the effects of giving up work ...? He'd only agree if he wanted her to give up work.

In theory yes the fairest solution is for both parents to take equal responsibility and equal time away from work. However, the way the employment world is set up, a couple will often do better financially if they agree that one of them will work 100% full time and the other 50% (or even 0%), rather than both at 75%. It shouldn't work that way but it does. So for this reason there will often be couples who agree that one should stay 100% and the other cut back to 50% rather than splitting equally. The question is, how can the person who cuts back best be protected?

minipie Tue 26-Jul-11 13:21:21

Anyway, just musing really. Interesting to hear your thoughts (and anyone else's!)

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