The Cost of Being a Stay-at-Home Mom

Reconsider the prenup

Don’t sign your rights away in a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements are meant to protect the financial assets of both partners, so make sure yours does. By choosing to stay at home, you’re limiting your future income prospects, so make sure any agreement you sign takes into account your somewhat special status as a stay-at-home parent. (If you’ve already signed one and are now thinking of having children, you and your spouse can renegotiate.) Katherine Stoner, a certified family law specialist in San Francisco, recommends the following precautions:

  * Many premarital contracts are boilerplate, so it’s important to weed out any offending clauses. You don’t want to sign anything that waives your right to spousal support or future spouse rights in the event of death or divorce.

  * Get a lawyer to help you plan this, Stoner says. Or you’ll be leaving an awful lot up to chance and the generosity of the courts.

  * Even if the exact details are fuzzy, spell out your future financial plans in the prenup. For example, some couples stipulate that in the event of divorce, since the wife gave up 10 years of her career to raise Jack and Jill, the court should take that into consideration when determining her settlement. You don’t need the details, as long as the intention is clear.