By Jen Segura
“A man who represents himself has a fool for a client.” -Abraham Lincoln
Ha ha, just kidding! (Kind of.)
Don’t Cut Corners When it Comes to a Postnuptial Agreement
Like anything in life, you get what you pay for. I have always believed that for some things in life you just shouldn’t look for the best “deal.” Lasik eye surgery, plastic surgery, tattoos, permanent make-up, etc. If it is important and potentially life-changing, I advise not settling for cheap. Look for reputable and credible. This applies in the legal world as well as a postnuptial agreement. You may be able to get legal assistance for cheap, but don’t expect to get the best service for the cheapest price. Quality services will always cost more, and why is that? The best options prove themselves, repeatedly. The best stays relevant, informed, and savvy in an ever-changing landscape. You can count on the best to have the answer or know where to get it. They won’t cut corners; they have put in the work so you don’t have to.
When I think of a postnuptial agreement, the agreement itself is a tiny fraction of what the process is typically used for. The agreement is often just a way to memorialize what you have agreed to within your mediation sessions. So, if you are not having productive mediation sessions, how can you get to any resolutions that you can then take and put into an agreement?
Investing in Your Future
A postnuptial agreement is sometimes used as a form of “forgotten premarital agreements,” in which case, the mediation aspect may be irrelevant. Often these circumstances are about one party protecting themselves and their assets and have nothing to do with a desire to improve their relationship and keep each other, and themselves, accountable. In those cases, you can try and put together your own agreement, but the reality is a postnuptial agreement is far riskier than premarital agreements. If I were in a position where I wanted to protect my own assets post-wedding, I would like to hire a professional to help me.
Emotions can be blinding, and you will never know whether you did a good job or not until it is potentially too late. It is the old adage, “mechanics’ cars don’t work,” “the stylist’s hair is a mess,” etc., it is hard to be objective when you are doing something for yourself. A third party will help you look at the circumstances under various lights and that comes with many benefits. Ensuring there aren’t things you are forgetting, making sure you cover all the legal (if relevant) requirements, and of course, making sure you do it right the first time. For all of these reasons, hiring a professional to help you prepare your postnuptial agreement will always prove to be worth the money spent.
Marital Mediation is Key
For agreements that are not really a premarital agreement dressed up as a post-marital agreement, and instead memorialize the agreements you and your spouse have made to try to improve your marriage, it is everything that comes before the agreement that you are missing out on. There is a new style of martial support that many clients are looking for these days, termed Marital Mediation. This is a process that utilizes mediation tools to assist clients who need to get over a challenging moment in their relationship to keep on trucking.’
The couple will meet with their mediator to discuss things like the reality of divorce and what to expect if they go down that path. They explore if that grass really is greener on the other side (spoiler – it rarely is.) The couples will inventory their relationship and determine what needs to go, what needs to stay, and what needs to be added. What can everyone live with – what are the solvable issues and which ones are just not going to change? From there, the couple can really evaluate if their relationship is truly over or if there is still enough hope, desire, and love for each other to make things work. If the choice is made to keep working on the relationship, and boundaries are set, the agreement will cover what the boundaries are, as well as other agreements made to keep everyone accountable and honest.
A postnuptial agreement is not often filed with the court, but instead is there for the parties to use to help them continue down a path of mutual respect and honesty, both within themselves and with each other. At West Coast Family Mediation Center, we are happy to assist couples throughout California in creating mutually beneficial pre and postmarital agreements. Contact West Coast Family Mediation at (858) 736-2411 to schedule a free virtual consultation.