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Important considerations for women who outearn their spouse

In the not too-distant past, social norms dictated that when it came to family and work, there was a very distinct pattern to which married couples should adhere. Indeed, the role of primary breadwinner was to be filled by the husband, while the role of primary caregiver was to be filled by the wife.

Fast forward to the present day and these social norms have mercifully been largely abandoned by modern society. Indeed, where there are still many families in which the husband serves as the primary breadwinner, there are also many families in which both parents serve as the primary breadwinners and many families in which the wife serves as the primary breadwinner.

Given this latter reality, the question naturally arises as to what, if anything, those wives who earn more than their husbands can do to protect themselves and everything they’ve worked so hard to build in the event of a divorce.

According to one expert, there are a few simple steps that women in this situation can take that will go a long way toward securing peace of mind about the future.

  • Retain a degree of financial autonomy: Women should consider opening and keeping a bank account in their own name, meaning one their husband cannot access. While it certainly wouldn’t be necessary to divert all funds here, a small monthly deposit can help build a much-needed fund should the unexpected occur. Similarly, women are advised to consider opening a credit card in their own name.
  • Consider a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement: While the idea of executing a prenuptial agreement before walking down the aisle or a postnuptial agreement after several years of marriage may seem unromantic, it can pay dividends should a divorce occur and can actually foster harmony among a couple. That's because they will be able to talk through financial matters in a productive manner ahead of any divorce, and be left with clear expectations regarding both property division and alimony.
  • Take steps to protect a business: If a married woman's salary is derived from a business in which she has invested considerable time, money and energy to build, she is urged to take steps to ensure that her enterprise remains intact in the event of a divorce whether through a trust, prenuptial agreement or other complex legal instrument.

If you would like to learn more about prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, or require assistance with your high-asset divorce, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional as soon as possible.

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Frank Family Law Practice
815 Orienta Avenue
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