The term “prenup” often brings a wince, and it shouldn’t. A prenuptial (also known as a premarital) agreement should be viewed like any other kind of insurance: You hope never to use it, but it is there just in case. Before taking vows, couples might have a variety of issues to sort out in the event of divorce, such as:
- Property Division
- Disposition of Retirement Funds
- Pre-Marital Assets
- Spousal Support
Prenuptial agreements are not always about the possibility of a divorce; they might also cover other marital concerns such as whether both parents will work after children are born, and their respective approaches to spending and saving. These agreements can also be drafted after the couple is married. In such cases, they are referred to as post-nuptial agreements.
Before (or shortly after) saying “I do,” couples might find it difficult to discuss individual financial concerns, needs and expectations. Mediation can take the sting out of the prenuptial agreement negotiation. Couples discuss the terms together with the help of a neutral intermediary. The result is a favorable agreement for both sides without emotional scars that can damage a marriage before it begins. One more thing: peace of mind. Once the prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is out of the way, you can get on with what is most important: your marital relationship.
How Does Prenuptial Mediation Work?
Prenuptial or postnuptial mediation is done in a collaborative setting where the couple sits down with a mediator to work out the terms and conditions of the prenup. The mediator is there to facilitate constructive talks between the two parties toward an agreement that both parties will be happy with. This can usually be accomplished in one or two sessions, though more complex circumstances may require additional sessions.
For some couples, it can be difficult to mediate a prenup or postnup while in the same room together. In such cases, caucusing might work better. With caucusing, the two parties are in separate rooms, and the mediator goes back and forth between them to discuss the issues individually as they move closer to an agreement. Caucusing can be helpful in prenuptial mediation, because it gives each party an opportunity to fully express their concerns without alienating the other party.
After a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement has been mediated, it should be drafted and reviewed by an attorney before it is finalized. This helps minimize the risk that the agreement could later be challenged and deemed legally unenforceable.
Who Can Benefit from Prenuptial Mediation?
There are several situations in which prenuptial or postnuptial mediation can be beneficial. Many people think a prenup is only for cases where one spouse has significant assets and the other does not. A prenup is also used for other purposes, however.
For example, if this is a second marriage and/or the couple is bringing in children from prior relationships, a prenuptial agreement can help ensure that the children within a blended family are provided for in the event of a worst-case scenario. Prenups might also be initiated by the parents of one of the parties if the family happens to be well-off in order to protect their assets.
We have seen most issues that come up in prenuptial or postnuptial agreement negotiation, and we have helped many couples work out these (often delicate) issues amicably and without permanent damage to their relationship. For further information regarding prenuptial mediation, contact us today at
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