We’ve discussed using the collaborative process for divorce a great deal, but it is also useful for marriage planning. Prenuptial and Postnuptial agreements are no longer only for the extremely wealthy and soap opera plot devices. In this blog, we will look at what marriage planning is, why it’s a good idea, and how the collaborative process works.
Prenuptial And Postnuptial Agreements
A Prenuptial Agreement, sometimes called a Premarital Agreement, is a contract executed by an engaged couple to provide rules for their financial lives during their marriage. It also determines what will happen in terms of property division and spousal support if they should divorce, and in many instances, it can also apply in the event of the death of a spouse. A Postnuptial Agreement, sometimes called a Postmarital Agreement, is a set of rules created by a couple during their marriage for essentially the same reasons.
Reasons For Marriage Planning
There are many good reasons why some couples choose to enter into Prenuptial Agreements. One spouse may have interests in a family business, for instance, that needs to remain separate. Or perhaps one of the spouses may have gone through an extremely costly and traumatic divorce, and wishes to draft an agreement to soothe their anxiety about marrying again. Sometimes there are children from a prior relationship of one spouse that require advance planning for their financial future. Some couples simply want to carefully plan for their financial future, and don’t want to potentially leave decisions up to the Court later.
In the case of postnuptial agreements, sometimes there is not enough time before the wedding to draft a premarital agreement. In other cases, a couple’s financial situation may change drastically during the marriage; for example, one spouse seeks to be protected from the other’s debt, or one spouse may wish to protect their newly inherited separate property. There may be differences in the enforceability of prenuptial agreements vs. postnuptial agreements, so it is a good idea to get legal advice before choosing one over the other if both are options.
A Better Way
Traditionally, one intended spouse requesting a “pre-nup” was the start of a painful process that often caused a rift between, or at best interfered with the pre-wedding plans and excitement of, two people who were supposed to love each other. It created a situation that felt threatening and adversarial, building mistrust and disharmony in an otherwise secure relationship.
The collaborative process is ideal for drafting Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements, because collaborative professionals are trained in mediation and collaborative negotiation that takes both spouses’ goals and concerns into account. This relieves that adversarial pressure and allows the spouses to work as a team.
The Collaborative Process
Throughout the collaborative process, each spouse receives individual legal guidance and advice from their legal counsel and that of neutral professionals who support the team effort in developing creative solutions. Together, the Collaborative Practice professionals leverage the collaborative process to help you to reach an agreement that works for both parties.