Mediation is an excellent tool for negotiating premarital agreements. A lawyer-mediator with conflict resolution skills can help parties see one another’s point of view and negotiate effective agreements.
Advantages of Mediation
The first advantage of mediation is that it takes adversarial elements out of the process. Involving two attorneys to negotiate a premarital agreement might have the unintended consequence of setting the couple against each other. Even if the discussions are friendly, there is still an adversarial aspect to the process.
By using a mediator and facilitating discussion rather than argument, couples are more likely to reach an agreement that works for both parties because they are jointly working together. The couple discusses options to find a mutually beneficial solution.
Second, the mediator can complete the paperwork if they are also a family law attorney. This allows ideas to make it to paper before they fade from memory. The result is a more accurate contemporaneous agreement that reduces drafts and saves time in creating a final agreement.
However, if the mediator drafts the agreement, a consulting attorney must review it in detail with their client and sign it before the signature stage.
Preparing for the Mediation
Before starting the mediation, parties should disclose all their debts and assets. There cannot be an open discussion if there is hidden information. So, full disclosure is necessary.
Second, negotiations should start four to six months before the wedding. It can take a while to draft a premarital agreement; there are disclosures, negotiations, discussions, final drafts, review periods, and mediation. Rushing the process only adds pressure–and possibly bad decisions.
Also, California law requires a waiting period before signing a prenuptial agreement. There must be seven days between the final draft and the signing. Again, that takes time. Always maintain a window for thorough preparation and finalization of drafts.Rebecca Medina is a San Diego and Fresno attorney who takes a collaborative approach to family law. If you prefer a less adversarial approach to your family law matter, contact our office today at (559) 354-4397 or complete the online