Marital Agreement Mediation
A marital agreement can be negotiated and documented to set out how certain financial (and perhaps other) matters will be handled in the event of a divorce. Often it also specifies how financial matters will be handled during the marriage. I have helped couples smoothly and amicably work out the terms of their marital agreement.
Pre-marital agreements, also called pre-nuptial agreements or pre-nups, are established before a couple is married. Although more common among couples in which one or both spouses is wealthy, all marrying couples should consider whether they might benefit from one.
Post-marital agreements, also called post-nups, are established after a couple is married. These are less common than pre-nups, perhaps because many mistakenly assume that if an agreement was not established before marriage, it is too late to do so after marriage. Post-nups can cover the same territory as a pre-nup.
Creating a Marital Agreement
There are essentially two steps to create a legally enforceable marital agreement:
- Come up with the agreements themselves and
- Document them appropriately so they are enforceable.
Many assume that you need a lawyer for the first step but you can create the agreements yourselves or with the help of a mediator.
Many couples don’t need a documented marital agreement. They can fall back on the law and/or negotiate a settlement if their marriage ends in divorce. But for others an agreement can have benefits including:
- Reducing financial uncertainty;
- Providing clear guidelines for financial management; and
- Minimizing financial conflict in the event of divorce.
There can be benefits in working with a skilled mediator rather than an attorney when developing your marital agreement, including:
- Reduced cost; and
- A warmer, more relaxed process.
Certain guidelines must be followed for a marital agreement to be enforceable in a divorce or other legal proceeding. Therefore, an attorney should be involved when documenting and before signing a marital agreement.