What Is a Mediated Prenup?
Gone are the days when prenuptial agreements were considered a slap in the face by the soon-to-be spouse who was asked to sign one. Prenups are important legal documents that allow couples who enter into marriage to protect their best interests, but they are not a means of cheating one’s spouse out of anything – and they are not an indictment of the marriage itself. In fact, having a prenup does not leave a couple more vulnerable to divorce. All of this being said, however, one person entering into a marriage often has more interest in a prenup than the other, and this is where a mediated prenuptial agreement can help. If you have questions or concerns related to a Florida prenup, the dedicated team at JustPrenups in Florida are here to help.
Why a Prenup?
Historically, young married couples who were just getting started in their lives had very few assets or complications, which meant they had no reason to pursue prenuptial agreements. Times have changed, however, and couples are far more likely to enter into second marriages with children in tow (and/or other complicating factors). Further, as more and more people wait to get married, they tend to amass more separate wealth of their own and are far more likely to have complicated financials, including business ownership. Finally, having family wealth can also amount to a financial complication in a marriage. In other words, as our lives and our finances become more complicated, prenups become that much more relevant.
Why a Mediated Prenup?
The traditional prenuptial process involved a soon-to-be spouse with greater wealth, asking his or her betrothed to sign a prenuptial agreement that delineated how things would be divided in the event of a divorce. Typically, the attorney of the person requesting the prenup would draft the document, and each soon-to-be spouse’s respective attorney would negotiate for terms that both were willing to sign off on. In other words, the prenuptial process was somewhat adversarial from the outset.
A mediated prenup, on the other hand, allows the couple to collaborate on terms that work for both parties. Mediation allows both partners to express their concerns and their motivations for the prenuptial agreement, which can go a long way toward mitigating hurt feelings. The fact is that prenups based on adversarial positions can have long-lasting emotional repercussions while taking a more collaborative approach can go a long way toward setting the stage for a long and happy marriage – a marriage in which both parties are invested in taking care of business.
At Prenuptial Mediation
At prenuptial mediation, you and your soon-to-be spouse – and your respective prenup attorneys – will meet with a mediator (a neutral third-party who is experienced in these matters). The mediation process involves three basic steps, including:
- The mediator will gather the facts as they pertain to your unique situation (with a focus on your financials)
- The mediator will facilitate an open discussion between you and your future spouse that considers the prenuptial agreement from all angles, and that helps you both explore options that you may not have even considered.
- The mediator will help you find terms that you are both comfortable signing off on and that protect both of your rights.
Your respective prenup attorneys will be by your sides throughout the process to help ensure that you both understand the implications of the prenup’s terms and what they can mean for you.
Things You Should Know About Prenups
There are a lot of misconceptions about prenups out there, but the following points help put the matter into better perspective:
- Prenups Aren’t Just for the Wealthy – There are many reasons for pursuing a prenup, and these reasons are often unrelated to one spouse’s greater wealth.
- Prenups Aren’t a Free for All – While you can put just about anything into a prenup that you dream up, if a divorce does come to pass, the presiding judge can invalidate all or part of the contract. Certain matters, such as child support, cannot be modified by a prenuptial agreement (unless the terms exceed the state’s calculation guidelines).
- Both Parties to a Prenup Need Legal Representation – For a prenup to be considered valid in the State of Florida (and many other states), each party to the contract must have his or her own attorney.
- Prenuptials Don’t Always Pertain to Divorce – Prenuptials are often used as a tool for estate planning, especially when children from another marriage are involved.
- Coercion Will Not Be Tolerated – If you and your spouse enter into a prenuptial agreement in the eleventh hour (just days or even hours before the ceremony), it’s far more likely to be translated as coercion (on the part of the spouse who pursued the prenup) if the marriage does end in divorce. Generally, the greater the assets involved, the more time you’ll want to allow in between signing the prenuptial agreement and tying the knot.
- Relying Upon a Postnup Is Not a Safety Net – While prenups can become obsolete and many are modified over the course of a marriage, this doesn’t mean that, if you have a need for a prenup, you should ignore the issue (knowing that you can always get a postnup if need be). The fact is that, during the intervening years of your marriage, your marital assets will likely grow, and your separate assets are far more likely to commingle with your marital assets – both of which can complicate the issue.