In the aftermath of the turbulent election season, are you and your partner seeking to add stability to your lives by tying the knot? Have you been in a long-term relationship and are now seeking to formalize and get legal recognition for it?
You may want to consider getting a prenuptial agreement. You and your partner may have a certain way of handling your finances. Do you wish to keep certain funds separate to maintain a degree of independence? Do you want to keep other funds joint for your mutual enjoyment? Do you want to clarify which of your assets should be considered non-marital and which should be seen as common property?
As arguments over finances are one of the leading causes of divorce, you can actually reduce the chances of splitting up by having these conversations as part of reaching a legal agreement. As a word of caution, though, it is important to be careful about the attorneys you select to help you reach an agreement.
Most family law attorneys base their business on divorce litigation. In other words, they fight in court for a living. They may be excellent at their jobs, but they may not have the right temperament or skills to help two people considering marriage reach an agreement.
Make sure any attorney you consider has, at the very least, completed a two-day introductory collaborative training. Collaborative attorneys are specially-trained to help families reach agreements privately and respectfully. Because the defining feature of collaborative practice is that attorneys cannot engage in litigation tactics, they are especially suited to help a couple come to a prenuptial agreement that works for them.
Couples may even want to consider Collaborative Marriage Planning, a more in depth method to strengthen your marriage and reduce the likelihood of divorce.
Adam B. Cordover is a founding member of the Tampa Bay Collaborative Trainers which teaches attorneys, mental health professionals, and financial professionals how to engage in collaborative practice. He is co-author with Forrest (Woody) Mosten of an upcoming American Bar Association book on Building A Successful Collaborative Law Practice. He is also former president of Next Generation Divorce, growing to to become one of the largest collaborative practice groups in North America.