The inspiration for my recent article entitled “The Most Affordable Divorce,” was a recent matter in which I was hired by a couple, very much in love, to serve as their mediator to help them negotiate a Prenuptial Agreement.
The bride was young and financially middle class, and the groom was older and a high net worth individual. What made this matter most compelling was that in 2017, each party had hired his/her own high priced, aggressive lawyer, and the negotiation became so adversarial that the Prenuptial Agreement was never finalized and executed, and the couple called off their marriage and split up!
Fortunately, love triumphed, the couple got back together and resumed the negotiation of their prenuptial agreement keeping lawyers out of it.
A few more facts are important to shed light on this couple’s situation and concerns. The groom had a net worth in excess of $35,000,000, annual income in excess of one million dollars, and a very successful business known to most people where this couple lived. The groom was also married and divorced twice before, and had spent a fortune on legal fees in his prior divorces. As a result of this and the bad experience this couple had the year before, both the bride and groom were fearful of being financially fleeced and failing again if they used similar over-aggressive lawyers.
What did this couple do?
They decided to have a kitchen table prenuptial agreement (they successfully negotiated most of their settlement terms without any lawyer) and they hired a mediator (me) to minimize arguments, help them reach agreement on the rest of the terms, draft their agreement, and preside over its execution so it is legal and proper. By using me as their mediator in a distant location with a reasonable hourly rate, they also avoided paying excessive fees.
On a side note, unlike in many prenuptial agreements, the non-propertied party (the bride in this case) did very well financially. Clearly, the groom deeply loved her, and he agreed to terms that were generous to her.
In all such mediations, the mediator should remind each party that he/she has the right to consult with his/her own separate attorney before signing the agreement.
© 2018 Arnold D. Cribari