PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS AND POST NUPTIAL AGREEMENTS
Unfortunately, the failure to have frank discussions regarding finances, goals and concerns can lead to the separation of a couple. Legal fees and costs in a divorce case, where the parties are litigating over issues such as the division of assets or the issue of support, can be several thousands of dollars. Further based on current divorce statistics, being divorced is as likely an outcome as is permanence in a relationship. On the other hand, couples who are able to consider and discuss the financial aspects of their relationship their goals concerns and ideas, before or after they are married can foster the permanency of their relationship. Therefore, the question that arises is, "How can couples formally protect their financial interests goals and concerns without causing undue disharmony in their relationship and how can they be assured that their interests will be protected in the very unfortunate event that they separate?"In Massachusetts, Prenuptial Agreements (Pre-nups) and Postnuptial Agreements (Post-nups) have been used to set the guidelines for determining alimony and property rights. Additionally, Pre-nups and Post-nups have been used to limit or clarify the inheritance of one spouse upon the death of the other, particularly in cases of second marriages later in life. Traditionally, Pre-nups or Post-nups have been negotiated between attorneys, with the couple waiting on the sidelines. Often, the attorneys approached the Pre or Post-nups by utilizing the litigation and negotiation skills that have served them well in court, but these same skills often creating undue and unnecessary stress between the couple and set an adversarial mood.Commonly, one client shows up in an attorneys office with a draft Pre-nup agreement or post-nup in hand, having been handed this lengthy document by the fiancés/spouses attorney and the initial document takes the posture of asking for everything we can possible get and the other side can possible give. This traditional litigation style posturing of the document is often taken personally and the couple feels a disharmony. Mediation takes a completely different approach to creating and formalizing Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements. The mediation process allows the couple to create the document together, to be heard, to actively participate within the process and to establish that all of the necessary criteria are met for their agreement to be valid and enforceable.In the course of mediation, the mediator can assist couples to clarify and express their expectations and financial realities, thereby learning what is possible and eliminating unrealistic financial views. Together the couple can establish joint goals and problem solving mechanisms.Further, they can create their own rules and decisions about what could happen in the event of divorce, thereby eliminating the fear and financial devastation that could happen in a divorce without a pre or post nuptial agreement. The open discussions that occur in the mediation process can also serve to address the concerns and interests of existing family members (such as in second marriages) and eliminate the fear of ulterior motives. Thus, although the initial idea of having a Prenuptial Agreement or a Post Nuptial Agreement can be daunting, the process of creating one through mediation can actually assist the couple in building a deeper concern for each other and a stronger commitment to each other.Engaged and married couples have the perfect opportunity to learn to address complex, sensitive financial and emotional issues with respect and dignity by choosing to draft their Prenuptial or Postnuptial agreements though mediation. Already-married couples who want to formalize certain understandings about their marriage will benefit greatly from participating in mediation in order to create the documents that will protect and preserve their interests now and in the future. If you are interested in learning how a Prenuptial Agreement or a Postnuptial Agreement can benefit you and your fiancée/spouse please feel free to contact this office by telephone 781-444-8888 or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and schedule a confidential appointment to discuss your concerns and take advantage of this opportunity.