South Shore Divorce Mediator Carmela Miraglia explores how millennial spouses can benefit by mediating their prenuptial agreements.
A recent article in The New York Times discussed the rise of prenuptial agreements, especially in the millennial crowd. The article offered useful information and a host of tips for starting the prenup process, with one that stuck out: the value of getting started early.
What caught my attention, though, was how the article failed to consider the process of mediation for a prenuptial agreement – and why mediation is better option than hiring attorneys.
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The New York Times Covers Prenuptial Agreements
On July 6, The New York Times ran an article in their Smarter Living section: The Rise of the Millennial Prenup.
The main point of the article was simple: Millennials are signing prenuptial agreements at a rate far higher than their predecessors. The article ventured to guess at some reasons why:
- Millennials are getting married later in life, so they have more assets to protect
- Women today are earning / contributing more to the parties’ combined income, providing an incentive for each spouse to pursue a prenuptial agreement
- Many millennials experienced their parents’ divorce, and understand the value of avoiding confrontation and preparing for the possibility
The piece offered suggestions for how to best approach a prenuptial agreement. However, while the article discussed how costly the process could be, it neglected the alternative – mediating a prenuptial agreement, rather than hiring attorneys to draft the document. Hiring divorce attorneys to prepare a prenup can be a costly proposition. (Indeed, the article encourages spouses to start the process early, something that can increase the total of hourly fees and the cost of a prenup even more.)
The Missing Piece: Mediating a Prenup
Mediation is an especially powerful and useful tool in resolving disputes that are not emotionally contentious, or in which neither side is actively trying to get more than the other.
This makes mediation the perfect vehicle for crafting a prenuptial agreement. Far better, in fact, than hiring attorneys who frequently bring overly-aggressive advocacy to the table and change the atmosphere from collaborative to adversarial.
Additionally, starting the process early—broaching the conversation well before the wedding is on the horizon, to prevent anyone from feeling like they are being rushed into an agreement—can make it an expensive venture. Family law attorneys frequently charge hourly rates to negotiate and formalize a prenuptial agreement, and getting an early start on the process will lead to more negotiation sessions and higher fees.
Mediation can help on this front, as well.
Engaged couples who hire attorneys to consult with for their prenup should each hire their own lawyer, or risk being taken advantage of during the negotiations. However, if they pursue mediation to create the agreement, each spouse-to-be would split the cost of a single mediator, who charges a significantly lower fee, while still maintaining a level playing field.
Mediation can help to keep the focus of the prenuptial agreement on the parties’ married future, rather than on protecting the parties’ current interests at the expense of it.
Control Your Costs with Mediation Coaching
We now offer pay-as-you-go mediation at South Shore Divorce Mediation. Under pay-as-you-go, you are only charged for the mediation services you use, when you use them. There are no retainers, up-front costs or commitments. Call today at (781) 741-5000 to schedule your first session.
Carmela is a divorce mediator and mediation coach for South Shore Divorce Mediation, with offices in Hingham, Massachusetts and East Sandwich, Massachusetts. She is also a Senior Associate Attorney for Lynch & Owens, P.C., where she specializes in divorce and family law issues. Carmela is a statutory mediator under M.G.L. Ch. 233, s. 23C and a proud member of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation. To read more from Carmela Miraglia, check out her author page on the Lynch & Owens Blog.
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