How Ought to We Go About Getting a Prenup?
Our Seattle marriage agreement attorneys are aborting the prep process
Unfortunately, there is a little difference between the way prenuptial agreements are normally made and the way I think they should be done. Too often a partner goes to a lawyer and has an agreement worked out. The partner then takes the draft to the other partner, who then forwards the draft to a second lawyer who will advise that partner on the pros and cons of the agreement and possibly suggest changes.
This process is essentially a controversial negotiation. Every lawyer tries to make the best offer for his client. This, of course, puts the two partners against each other and encourages them to see the other as an adversary rather than a partner. I think this is a terrible way to start a marriage.
Finding a lawyer is the most important first step in your marriage agreement
The first step is to find lawyers with some background in mediation. Lawyers whose activities primarily focus on litigation are trained to address controversial issues. Lawyers who also have mediation training have more tools to work from a mutual benefit perspective.
Each partner needs their own lawyer. However, if the lawyers are trained to work for mutual benefit rather than as adversaries, they will be better equipped to work with the couple as a couple.
Once both partners have lawyers, I think it is very important that the lawyers communicate and work together. A background in collaboration and mediation is very helpful, as collaboration involves a lot of work in teams.
I believe the best process is one where the two partners are treated as a couple and shared decisions are made about their future together. Instead of each attorney asking their client what they would like to see in the agreement, the attorneys should ask the couple what their mutual goals for the agreement are and what kind of things they as a couple would like to see in it.
The process should feel like a mutual decision
The lawyers should not ask both clients, perhaps even in a joint meeting, what that person wants from the agreement, but rather what the couple wants from it together. By looking at the couple’s overall goals first, the lawyers will be able to work better with them on specific ideas for achieving those goals.
Lawyers should compare notes and ensure that both partners have the same understanding of the common goals. If there are differences, a meeting may be required to discuss those differences and help the couple reach an agreement.
Once the goals are set, the attorneys can begin drafting them. Ideally, attorneys will share drafts back and forth to achieve something they both believe will best meet clients’ goals and can be presented to both clients for review and comment at the same time. If this review raises any new issues, another meeting may be needed to iron things out.
By spending time together planning what their marriage should like and what should happen if the marriage does not last, they not only develop a plan but also a way of working together that will serve them well in their married life perform.
Let a prenup attorney at our firm help you come up with an arrangement that you are comfortable with
If you think you and your partner may need a pre- or post-marital agreement, schedule an appointment to speak with one of our family law attorneys about the process.