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How mediators help couples draft prenuptial agreements

In New York, prenuptial agreements must be signed by the couple before marriage takes place in order to be enforceable. But the introduction of the subject of a prenuptial agreement by one member of the couple may have a disquieting impact on the other. The sudden injection of financial matters into the romantic anticipation that precedes a marriage can seem quite jarring. One solution is the use of a trained mediator to assist the couple in facing the possibility of divorce and helping them devise solutions for child custody issues, spousal support and property division.

Mediators have long been used to resolve problems. Now, mediators are invited to join the couple to help them negotiate prenuptial agreements. The mediator will decide nothing. The mediator will ask for various kinds of financial information, including personal tax returns. If the parties are joint owners of a business, the mediator will ask for business information.

The mediator's next task is to explain divorce laws. If the proposed prenuptial agreement asks one or both parties to waive their inheritance rights, the parties must know what they are waiving. The parties will be asked to agree on spousal support and child support, and the mediator will help the parties face these issues and find solutions.

A mediator does not eliminate the need for attorneys though. Anyone who is considering signing a prenuptial agreement may wish to ask a divorce attorney to review the agreement. Such a review can guard against fraud or abusive conduct, and a lawyer's review provides a further guarantee that the agreement serves the interests of both parties.

Source: Mediate.com, "How to Mediate a Prenuptial Agreement," Laurie Israel, June 2017, accessed on June 19, 2017

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