In many marriages, spouses’ incomes are not equal, but both contribute financially to a joint budget. However, sometimes a couple will make a conscious agreement for one spouse to sacrifice a career advance to allow the other to take one.
Before committing to this decision, spouses should consider a marital agreement.
What is a marital agreement?
According to Colorado statutes, a marital or postnuptial agreement is a contract similar to a premarital agreement. The only difference is that the couple signs it during the marriage rather than before. Unless it violates one of the legal requirements, it is valid and binding.
What can spouses include?
Spouses can state that the one who receives the career benefits from the other’s sacrifices will provide financial support to balance out the inequity. A spouse may also include the responsibility for a debt, such as a student loan, personal loan or vehicle loan, so that the other does not have to pay it. Spouses could agree that one will receive certain property if the couple divorces, as well.
What makes the contract void?
Couples have to allow each other a reasonable amount of time to review the contract before signing it, and they have to provide full financial disclosure. Spouses must also have time to consult with a lawyer if they wish to. Violating any of these or placing any undue pressure or stress to sign could nullify the contract.
Why is the agreement necessary?
Forbes notes that once someone loses a job opportunity or steps away from a job for a while, the damage to his or her career may be irreparable. By creating a marital agreement, the spouse with the career advantages commits to protecting the other spouse from financial harm.
If the couple does not identify the details of the commitment in the contract, a divorce could leave one spouse without adequate financial support.