Divorce doesn’t always have to be ugly. If you’re going through a divorce or considering one, you probably share the fear of angry confrontations and animosity that divorce brings with many other couples. While mediation can be a good option for couples who want to minimize the negative effects of a divorce and handle the settlement on their own, it isn’t for everyone. Mediation can even negatively impact one of the spouses as it does not rely on the fair assessment of a lawyer for help. Collaborative divorce is an ideal option for couples who want to maintain some sort of relationship, and effectively and fairly divorce with the help of legal counsel. What is collaborative divorce and how does it work?
What Is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative divorce is when both parties seeking a divorce acquire individual representation. Then, through a series of 4 way meetings, the couple and their attorneys will work together to reach a fair and amicable settlement. Collaborative divorce is for couples who wish to avoid going to court or avoid building any extraneous animosity between them. The end goal is to have both parties happy with the settlement, rather than one happy and one unhappy.
The Job of Your Divorce Attorney
Collaborative divorce attorneys have specific job responsibilities they must follow to help their clients. They must be trained in negotiations and conflict resolution. They serve to advocate for their clients, maintain level-headedness, and reach a fair agreement. It is in the best interest of the attorney to help their client reach an agreement through collaborative divorce. Otherwise, if an agreement is not reached, the attorney or the attorney’s firm cannot represent the client in court. If you hire a collaborative attorney, and you withhold or pass false information to them, the attorney is required by law to inform your spouse and their representation and to remove themselves from the case. It is in your best interest to remain honest and forthcoming with your attorney, as they are there to represent and help you.
Many people appreciate the collaborative process as it can utilize the help of outside parties such as mental health professionals (among others). Your attorney or your spouse’s attorney have the ability to bring in an outside authority if they feel it will help the process of reaching an agreement. Both parties will be fully aware of the outside party’s presence and their intentions before entering the meeting. This is so both parties can prepare with their attorneys, and this goes for every meeting, not just the ones with an outside authority. As an agreement is reached, it is the responsibility of the collaborative divorce attorney to draft the settlement into a legally binding document. For an agreement to be reached, both parties must agree on all consecutive issues. There has to be unanimous agreement on each issue for a settlement to be reached in collaborative divorce.
If you are willing to negotiate with your partner, want to maintain a good relationship, and want to save money, a collaborative divorce may be the right option for you. Our experienced attorneys are skilled in the art of negotiation and conflict resolution. We want to help you and your soon-to-be ex spouse resolve your differences and come to an agreement that is best for both of your interests. Set up a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your options. Set yours up here.
Most people understand what a prenup is, but what is a postnuptial agreement? This is an agreement many couples entering into marriage may not know about, but they should. How can a postnuptial agreement help you and your partner?
What Is A Postnuptial Agreement?
A postnuptial agreement is very similar to a prenuptial agreement. The main difference is that the agreement is entered into after marriage as opposed to before. Just like a prenuptial agreement, a postnup is there to help dictate how assets and real estate will be divided in the case of a divorce. Postnuptial agreements can also help protect one spouse from the other spouse’s debts. While a postnup is most closely associated with infidelity and marital issues, it can be a very beneficial tool for a successful marriage.
How Can A Postnuptial Agreement Help You?
There are many ways that a postnup can help you and your spouse, and protect your interests. In California, property acquired during the marriage is presumed to be community property in a divorce. Community property means that both spouses own the property and assets equally, and they will be equally divided in court. Many California couples choose to create a postnup to avoid this equal division and to instead have assets divided as they wish. What are some examples of a postnup being beneficial?
Affairs & Infidelity
This is probably the most recognized reason for acquiring a postnup. If two parties enter into a marriage trusting one another, and post-marriage that trust is broken, many couples turn towards a postnuptial agreement for help. The potential for the marriage to not work out comes to the forefront of the couple’s mind, and they are forced to think about what the dissolution of their marriage might look like. This causes people to create a postnup to protect their assets and interests and hopefully support restoring trust.
Excessive Arguments & Turmoil
Similarly to an affair, excessive arguments can cause couples to reevaluate the security of their marriage. When couples have a lot of animosity between them, they act impulsively and in anger, and can do things that they may later regret. This is why divorces turn ugly so often. For a couple who recognizes the signs of a marriage going downhill and worry about things getting back on track, setting up a postnup to protect against negative decisions made in anger is a smart decision.
For a spouse or spouses who start a business after they become married, setting up a postnuptial agreement can protect both parties in the case of dissolution of the marriage. A postnup can also protect parties who owned a business prior to getting married. A postnup can protect spouses from debts acquired from a failing business. It can also protect future earnings from being equally distributed between both spouses when one spouse does all the work and solely owns the business.
If one spouse acquires a large inheritance and wants to protect this amount in the case of a divorce, a postnup is a smart decision. It can also protect the inheritance if the spouse invests it into a family business or personal business.
Children & Property Prior to Marriage
If one spouse owns property pre-marriage or has children from a previous marriage that they need to provide for, a postnuptial can protect against an ugly divorce and can maintain one’s assets and real estate.
If a spouse enters into a marriage with a lot of debt, or if they acquire debt post-marriage, one spouse may want to set up a postnup to protect themselves from being held responsible for a debt they had nothing to do with.
Postnups can be incredibly effective when protecting oneself from an ugly divorce, or from the community property law in California. If you and your spouse are interested in setting up a postnuptial agreement, get in touch with one of our experienced attorneys. Couples seeking a postnup can use the same legal counsel as opposed to a prenup where separate counsel for each party is required. Set up a free 30-minute consultation here to begin setting up your postnuptial today.