By Tanya Prioste and Pamela Canter
You’re getting married – congratulations! But before the big day comes you should talk about your expectations of one another, especially as it relates to your financial future together. A Collaborative premarital agreement is the perfect format to do that. Some people think prenups are unromantic or unnecessary, or at a minimum, an attempt at divorce planning. A Collaborative prenup, however, can actually be good for your relationship. It provides a forum for each of you to express what is important to you, what your goals and objectives are for your life together, and what your financial values are. You will have the important conversations before the wedding, and that may even help you feel closer to one another.
What makes a Collaborative prenup different from a traditional prenup is the process. In a traditional process, the prenup-seeking party meets with his or her own attorney, who prepares the first draft of the agreement. This draft usually presents a one-sided, often overreaching best case scenario for that party, with details that have likely not been discussed with his or her future spouse. When the other party receives the draft, it can feel like a hand grenade has been dropped, leading to lengthy and painful negotiations.
The Collaborative premarital agreement is profoundly different. The agreement is prepared last, only after the partners have discussed the issues and concerns that are important to each of them and for their shared life. In the Collaborative prenup process, a Collaborative team is assembled to help the parties create agreements that meet the needs and interests of both partners. And this is done only after information has been gathered and exchanged by each person regarding his or her respective goals and interests. The Collaborative lawyers are non-adversarial, providing a calm, caring and safe atmosphere. In addition to each party having his or her own attorney to represent them and provide them legal advice, the team can also include a mental health professional, who helps them with the emotional issues that emerge when exploring financial issues, and a financial professional, who can help model and explore different financial scenarios.
With the support and guidance of the team, the Collaborative prenup becomes a mutually developed financial roadmap, created together and recognizing shared interests and perspectives. We can all toast to that.
All information provided on this blog is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be tax or legal advice. No client relationship is formed and no such relationship should be implied. Be sure to consult with professional advisors before taking any action.