Our Seattle Prenuptial Agreement Attorneys Break Down the Prenup Process
Unfortunately there is a bit of a difference between how prenuptial agreements are typically done and how I believe they should be done. Too often one partner goes to an attorney and has an agreement drafted. The partner then takes the draft to the other partner, who then takes the draft to a second attorney who advises that partner on the pluses and minuses of the agreement and may suggest changes.
That process is essentially an adversarial negotiation. Each lawyer is trying to make the best deal for their client. This of course pits the two partners against each other, encouraging each to see the other as an opponent rather than a partner. I believe this is a terrible way to start out a marriage.
Finding a Lawyer is the Most Important First Step for Your Prenuptial Agreement
The first step is finding lawyers with some background in mediation. Lawyers whose practices focus primarily on litigation are trained to approach issues in an adversarial manner. Lawyers who also have mediation training have more tools for working from a mutual benefit perspective.
Each partner will need their own lawyer, but if the lawyers are trained to work for mutual benefit rather than adversaries, then they are better equipped to work with the couple as a couple.
Once both partners have lawyers, I feel it is very important for the lawyers to communicate and work together. Having a background in collaborative work as well as mediation is very helpful, as the collaborative work includes a great deal of work on teams.
I believe the best process is one that treats the two partners as a couple, making joint decisions about their future together. Instead of each lawyer asking their client what they want to see in the agreement, the lawyers should be asking the couple what their mutual goals are for the agreement and what types of things they as a couple would they like to see in it.
The Process Should Feel Like a Mutual Decision
The lawyers should be asking both clients, maybe even in a joint meeting, not about what that person wants out of the agreement, but what the couple is together wanting out of it. By looking first at the overall goals of the couple, the lawyers can better work with them on specific ideas for accomplishing those goals.
They lawyers should be comparing notes and making sure both partners have the same understandings of what the mutual goals are. If there are differences, then there may be a need for a meeting to go over those differences and help the couple come to agreement.
Once the goals have been defined, the lawyers can start drafting. Ideally the lawyers will share drafts back and forth to reach something they both believe best addresses the clients’ goals and can be presented back to both clients at the same time for review and comment. Again, if this review raises new issues, another meeting to iron things out may be needed.
By spending time together planning what their marriage should like, and what should happen if the marriage does not last, a couple is developing not only a plan, but a way of working together that will serve them well in their married life.
Let a Prenup Attorney at Our Firm Help You Make an Agreement You Feel Good About
If you think you and your partner may need a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, make an appointment to talk with one of our family law attorneys about the process.