What other states may refer to as a postnuptial or antenuptial agreement is a marital contract in Hawaii. According to state law, the couple can make a contract at any time during the marriage and agree to almost anything as long as it does not violate any laws. In a divorce, the judge has to approve the document, but during the marriage, almost any contract is valid. The contract may be oral or written.
But why would a couple need a contract?
To provide for their child’s education
If a child has special educational needs or the couple chooses a private school, the expense may be considerable. The couple may want to commit to each contributing a certain portion of the costs, both during the marriage and after if they divorce.
Even after the judge approves the agreement, the rates may be subject to change if one of the parents can show that his or her circumstances have changed significantly enough to warrant a modification.
To preserve balance in the relationship
ABC News reports that when one spouse leaves the workforce to become the primary caregiver of the children or manage the household, it can upset the emotional and financial balance of the relationship. It also sets the stay-at-home spouse at a significant disadvantage if the couple divorces.
Creating a contract that details what the stay-at-home parent will take care of in terms of household management could function as an employment contract of sorts that identifies how the “job” stacks up to employment outside the home. This could prevent marital disputes, and it could also be useful in a divorce to demonstrate the unemployed spouse’s contribution.
Including alimony stipulations is a good safety net for a spouse who will lose future earning potential by stepping out of a career.