The Argument For Collaborative Prenuptial Agreements – San Diego Divorce Mediation & Family Law
Traditionally, prenuptial and post-nuptial documents are presented by the more powerful future spouse to the less financially fortunate prospective spouse and this person is expected and pushed to sign a document so that the wedding may proceed. This is what happens most of the time. Alternatively, more balanced couples will each engage attorneys and allow them to completely negotiate the agreement with each other through the exchanging of letters, phone calls, and various drafts of agreements.
Marriage Is About Collaboration…
Shouldn’t Drafting A Prenuptial Agreement Be Collaborative As Well?
In both instances, the parties are represented and know little about the details of the agreement. At San Diego Divorce Mediation & Family Law, we have an alternative option to the traditional model of prenuptial and post-nuptial agreement negotiation that allows the parties to be active participants in the process as opposed to passive passengers. These documents will guide your financial future and we believe the more active you are, the more the agreement will reflect your needs. And the more active you are, the less you have to depend on your lawyer, and the lower your fees will be.
There is, thankfully, a different option; the method combines mediation and collaborative law. Having been relied upon to foster cooperatively fashion divorce settlements for decades, mediation and collaboration can also be used in friendlier circumstances to craft a satisfactory prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement.
“Staying in control of your premarital agreement negotiation leaves you in much better shape to exchange honest dialogue with your spouse during marriage.”
In mediation, the image of two sharply dressed attorneys billing at $550 an hour, jockeying for maximum advantage, is replaced with an image of a group of people gathered around a conference table engaging in open and honest dialogue. We form a team and the parties have the time to discuss together their wishes and worries, aspirations and anxieties, about their financial future. Through this open communication, “cards can be put on the table” and a full conversation was had. And don’t worry, both parties are still fully represented by their own attorneys. It’s just that during mediation, the 2 parties meet with our mediator to put together the first draft of the agreement, and then the parties seek out legal counsel to discuss that agreement and they can offer edits.
The agreement is also very likely to be enforceable later on as our mediator and your counsel will make sure that you are fully informed and comfortable with all the details. It’s the exact type of process that courts encourage and affirm.
The result of such collaboration is a peacefully negotiated, well-informed, and fair agreement that is acceptable to both parties. They are completely in the know about the details of the agreement and feel that they have each been given time to speak and listen. It’s almost as if they are practicing best practices for their marriage. Feeling heard and listening to your partner, and giving and taking in a balanced way sound like some of the qualities that successful marriages are blessed with.
While preparing a mediated collaborative prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement won’t be as much fun as planning the honeymoon and party, it can be an extremely helpful and important element to a complete marriage plan, particularly where there is a substantial imbalance in wealth or significant obligations stemming from the past.
For help with a collaborative prenuptial agreement or post-nuptial agreement, please schedule a consultation with Scott Levin and San Diego Divorce Mediation & Family Law by calling 858-255-1321 or schedule an appointment.