'I have a loving, healthy marriage. But this year, I decided to get a mid-nup. Here's why.'

When *Narelle was 44 her world turned upside down. Her husband, a highly accomplished engineer, had decided to leave the marriage unexpectedly.

Not only did it leave Narelle emotionally vulnerable, but also financially disadvantaged too. Because although she was a full-time healthcare worker and paid a good salary, she didn't feel financially confident. Plus, Narelle was the primary carer of their two children.

The divorce proceedings were ugly. 

And ultimately, it left her struggling economically. Because her husband was far more financially savvy than she was. 

Watch MM Confessions: When I knew our marriage was over. Post continues below.

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For the past ten years, she has been working on her financial literacy – something she now wishes she had done sooner. It's a scenario so many women have experienced.

*Kate is in her mid-30s and works in a high-powered tech job. She shares two kids under ten with her husband, who she has a great relationship with. 

Recently, Kate decided to get a mid-nup.

She knew she wanted to protect her kids' financial future along with her own if a divorce was to occur. She also had a sizeable amount of inheritance from her parents. It was her inheritance that had mostly funded Kate and her husband's home. 


So, she looked into her options. 

"I have no intention of getting divorced. But I wanted to have plans in place if it ever is to happen – for both of our sakes," Kate told Mamamia.

"For example, the house: I paid for the vast majority, so we would need to divvy that up accordingly if divorce were to occur, just to be fair. 

"My husband was advised to have a separate bank account too – with full transparency between us – to put money aside for himself just in case of divorce. I'm the breadwinner, so it's important he also has money and is stable too if we were to split."

These conversations between Kate and her husband were initially very awkward. Money talk is hard. But it's also vital.

Overall, organising the mid-nup cost just under $10,000 for Kate and her husband – an expense they find incredibly valuable for their future. 

Rewind: what exactly is a mid-nup?

Legally speaking, a mid-nup (a mid-nuptial agreement) sets out what happens to a couple's property if they separate, rather than this being left to the couple to debate or for the courts to step in to make the decision. It's essentially an 'exit map' for the potential end of a relationship, setting out the financial arrangements.

Like a Will gives you certainty upon death, a mid-nup gives you certainty upon separation. And it's a rising concept in Australia. 

During COVID, there was a staggering 314 per cent increase in couples thinking about separating.


Even more sobering is the fact one in two Australians experience tension in their relationships due to financial uncertainty, and three in ten women say they fear for their financial future should their relationship come to an end.

What the mid-nup aims to do is protect both parties financially. For example, a business owner can protect her business. A professional who steps out of the workforce to raise children can be sure their time will be compensated. A mum set to receive an inheritance can make sure that it will pass to her children.

The mid-nup is beneficial for couples who aren't considering separation, but want to safeguard themselves if it were to arise as well as ensure the process is equitable.


Talya Faigenbaum is the Principal Family Lawyer at Nest Legal – a female-founded and operated team. As of late, she has seen a rising demand for middle-aged women looking into mid-nups with their respective partners.

"What we're trying to do is to encourage women to start thinking about finances. One option is to create a mid-nup when the relationship is on a good footing just in case the relationship doesn't go the way they hoped," Talya explained to Mamamia

"Anecdotally speaking, women are coming out of the pandemic with maybe a renewed enthusiasm to get their affairs and paperwork in order."

What's the process behind it?

As with any legally binding document, there are stringent requirements to consider.

"The main component is that both parties in the couple need to get independent legal advice. And there's usually a process of disclosing documents and exchanging. Once that happens, the agreement can be drafted. And then it goes to the partner's lawyer to have a look at and make any recommendations or changes or to seek any amendments. It's then signed by both parties and finalised," Talya said.

As for the cost, like any legal scenario, it isn't cheap. Depending on the complexity of the couple's finances, family trusts and/or business ventures, it often starts from $3,500 upwards for a mid-nup.

But it's a cost that is likely very worthwhile in the future.


"There's clear research that's been done to show that women post-separation are the most financially disadvantaged. Often our average client is a woman who is middle-aged, professionally educated, and quite financially savvy and secure," Talya said. 

That is why mid-nups and financial planning needs to become more mainstream – because currently, not all people are as financially literate as they could be, or even know of the options available to them. 

Is a pre-nup still a good option for couples yet to marry?

As explained on Mamamia's What The Finance podcast, money conversations can be difficult – but they're incredibly important.

"Money is the number one thing couples fight about. We end up avoiding talking about finances, so it becomes even more heightened. That's why open conversations are key – budgeting, shared and separate finances/bank accounts, future goals and more," podcast co-host Mel Browne said.

Listen to Mamamia's What The Finance. Post continues after audio.

As for whether a pre-nup is relevant for all couples, Talya said it comes down to personal circumstance.

Is there anticipated familial wealth that will be passed down when a parent dies? Is there significant wealth disparity? Will one partner be staying at home full-time to raise future children? Ultimately, if there are financial discrepancies in the relationship, Talya said a pre-nup may be valuable – both to protect the very wealthy individual, but also to ensure the other partner receives the amount they need to be stable and secure. 


But if the disparity isn't major, Talya said it's better to "wait until you've had an opportunity to grow together before thinking about how to structure your future financial planning".

With 12 years of practicing law, Talya has seen women draw the short straw when involved in lengthy divorces or separation. It's for this reason that she works at Nest Legal, which was started to help women and mums protect themselves in troubling times.

"Often women have been taking time out of career progression because they are the primary caregiver for the kids. Once the relationship ends, because their partner may have had the opportunity to continue their career progression and climb up the ladder, it's the woman who is left with little. 

"A mid-nup under the Family Law Act remains the only legally binding tool or instrument that women have available."

For Kate, she is now relieved to have the mid-nup in place. 

And she has started recommending to girlfriends that they start looking into their own financial futures too. 

"Some of my friends aren't interested in money, or maybe their husband's share portfolios go over their head - but it's crucial that there is transparency. My husband and I have saved our potential future selves an emotional and expensive process, because we've agreed upfront what we're doing. It's a kind act."

*Both women are known to Mamamia but have chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.

Feature Image: Getty.