I recently came across this article from Tatler* magazine which tentatively poses the question, “should you get a mid-nup?“
A midnuptial agreement (midnup) as the term suggests, is a marital property settlement agreement executed between a husband and wife during the marriage, as opposed to prior to it like the prenuptial or ante-nuptial agreement (prenup). It has no binding force in the Philippines (or in the UK where the magazine is based) which only recognizes prenups but the Tatler article proposes that it should have some persuasive force especially during the compromise or settlement stage (prior to litigation or prior to the time a case is filed in court to dissolve a marriage).
A midnup is said to be useful for women who leave the workforce in the middle of the marriage due to childbirth or to become a full-time stay-at-home-wife. It may be used to set the wife’s monthly compensation from that point forward. By doing so, the woman is safeguarded in the event of the marriage’s dissolution (annulment / declaration of nullity / legal or factual separation), where “your own earning capacity will have been significantly diminished as a result of the decision made for the good of the family.” “As a professional woman, you won’t make that time back. You can’t just walk back into your high-flying career” years later. The article emphasizes,
“You wouldn’t take a new position without compensation in your business life, so why do it in your personal life?”
After spending years watching my mom, who left the banking industry to become a full-time housewife, I must say, I AGREE! While the stay-at-home spouse (wife/husband, we don’t judge =p) may hold vast control over the household budget, there is that pressure to ensure that resources are allocated to needs. Alternatively, one faces the pressure of making sure the money brought home by the working spouse is ENOUGH to defray household costs! That’s waay more pressure than any 9-5 job.
If the non-working spouse earns nothing, he/she will have no disposable income to speak of and will fall at the complete mercy of the working spouse, having to ask permission for each purchase. That’s some fifty shades of control to me. Whether such prior permission is required or not, the stay-at-home spouse will usually feel guilty about every tiny little purchase be it frivolous or otherwise. Particularly for women, I cannot imagine having to ask for approval to buy a particular brand of makeup or shampoo. For a working woman who worked hard to get to where she is at a point in her career, that mere prospect is unthinkable. So a midnup for me is a resounding YES.
As I previously emphasized, it is pragmatic to set terms and execute agreements with your spouse when both parties stand on equal footing (both in love, both young with ideally a great career). This holds true not just for prenups but for midnups as well when the woman is at her peak-earning years.
Technically while midnups currently**** hold no binding force** under our Family Code (marriage settlement agreements must be executed prior to the marriage) it is useful in setting the stay-at-home spouse’s compensation should such spouse make the complete jump to full-time houseperson*** duties. Personally, I would not put a dollar (peso) value on monthly compensation. I suggest adopting a percentage approach as your working spouse’s income may exponentially increase over time. Also, a percentage should allow you a share in all earnings including bonuses, etc.
Are midnups and prenups unromantic? Maybe. And I’m sure a lot of people will scoff at the mere idea, until faced with the very real possibility of an annulment or a spouse going astray. However, it never hurts to prepare for the worst while expecting the best. As a woman who worked hard to get to where you are, you owe it to yourself to protect yourself in case sh*t happens.
Will you ever do a prenup or a midnup?
*It’s a 2016 article plucked out from my backlog of reading articles (books, magazines, and comics) just stored on my tablet waiting to be read.
** Midnups in the Philippines may be considered as more of an internal arrangement between a husband and wife as opposed to an iron-clad legally binding agreement. It may be argued that by giving your spouse a fixed monthly compensation, you are making a property settlement agreement, which the Family Code requires to be executed prior to (as opposed to during) the marriage.
***Like in the case of an early-retired person. Future you or me!
****But then, laws are always subject to change.