According to the Pew Research Center, the number of mothers with children who stay at home is on the rise, reversing a decades-long trend. In 1999, 77 percent of mothers had a job or were actively looking for work. In 2013, 74 percent of women participated in the labor force. About 6 percent of fathers stay at home to care for children.
Economists speculate finances may be prompting the return of stay-at-home mothers. Women, on average, make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. And childcare is expensive. Unemployment is still high and competition for jobs is fierce. These factors make staying at home a reasonable option for many women.
Many families also prefer to have one parent stay at home. In another survey, Pew found that 60 percent of mothers say that children are better off when a parent stays at home. Raising children is difficult, and the more time a parent can spend with a child the better off that child will be.
Postnuptial agreements can help
Staying at home to care for children and the home can provide an economic boost to the household. Because a stay-at-home parent is economically equivalent to a full-time job, parents who stay at home should be acknowledged for their role in helping the family financially.
In addition, mothers with young children are generally at the age where they have the opportunity to earn the most income. Certainly staying at home provides numerous benefits, but staying at home does reduce a mother's ability to earn income in the future.
That is why mothers who forego work to care for children should get a postnuptial agreement. Similar to prenuptial agreements, a postnuptial agreement is a legal agreement on property division and spousal maintenance in the event of divorce. A postnuptial agreement can help protect a mother's financial situation if newly single. This could take the form of a lump-sum alimony amount, for example, so that the mother has time to reintegrate into the workforce before being forced to be financially independent.
Creating a postnup does not have to be a doom-and-gloom, we're headed for disaster experience. Many couples find creating a postnuptial agreement actually strengthens a marriage. Finances are the biggest cause of arguments among couples. A postnuptial agreement allows a couple to have a frank discussion about their assets, goals and financial plans.
Professionals can help
If a mother does decide to stay at home, financial planners can help the situation by ensuring the couple has a sound financial plan. Family law attorneys can ensure that each couple understands the agreement, why it is in place and protect the legal and financial rights of each spouse. Couples looking to create a postnuptial agreement should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss their options moving forward.