As you near the end of your maternity leave questions begin to surface regarding the care of the child. For some, it may be possible financially for one parent to not return to work, instead giving up their career to look after the children. Whilst this may be practical during the course of the marriage, what happens should the relationship break down?
Over time the courts have progressively retracted from joint lives maintenance awards which provide the financially weaker party with a monthly income for life. In more recent years they have promoted the need for both parties to become financially independent; particularly when the children have reached adulthood.
Whilst this would seem a fair way forward for two employed individuals, what about those who have given up their career to look after the children and spent a long period of time out of the employment market? For those individuals the thought of re-entering the employment market is an extremely daunting idea and their career prospects and earning capacity is likely to be very restricted.
Unfortunately without a maintenance provision which continues after the children are independent, they are left with little choice in order to meet their needs.
Prior to making the decision to give up your career you may wish to consider reaching an agreement with your partner regarding the support they will provide in the future should the marriage break down.
This can be recorded in a pre or post nuptial agreement. Whilst these agreements are not ultimately binding on the court, if drafted correctly, they do carry significant weight when a court is considering what order to make. It could be recorded within the agreement that should the marriage break down provision will be provided to ensure the financially weaker parties’ needs are met.
Pre and post nuptial agreements are complicated in nature. If you are considering this as an option we would recommend an initial meeting with one of our family lawyers. For more information about our fixed fee initial meetings please get in touch with me today on 01908 304560 or speak to another member of our team of specialist family solicitors.
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