Prenuptial, Opt Out, Separation and Settlement Agreement

Divorces have become fairly common these days, and there is no shortage of horror stories as to the expense, aggravation and upheaval caused by the divorce litigation process. Hence, these days, it is not uncommon for couples to take a proactive approach to resolves potential conflicts before they arise. This is done with a prenuptial agreement. Lisa S. Fine, Esq., Attorney and Mediator can help a couple navigate the potential conflicts that may arise in the event of divorce before they even get married. Because the mediation setting is non-adversarial, and the couple can calmly discuss their concerns with the guidance of Lisa S. Fine, Esq., Attorney and Mediator, the couple can go forward with their wedding plans still in tact.


What is a prenuptial agreement, its advantages and limitations?


A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding agreement that resolves the potential conflicts that can arise in the event of divorce or dissolution of the marriage. It should be carefully drafted by an experienced attorney who understands the advantages and limitations of the document. A prenuptial agreement is advantageous in that it creates a roadmap for couples in determining what would happen in the “what if” event of divorce. There is less unknown and the couples are more prepared for that contingency. Perhaps it will have a deterrent effect on the couple causing them to think twice about divorce and explore other option such as marriage or family counseling. It is also quite useful in the even of divorce in resolving all issues making the divorce as uncontested as possible.


Prenuptial agreements do have certain limitations that couples should be aware of. A prenuptial agreement can be challenged in Court in the event of divorce and, if not properly drafted, can be overturn in whole, or in part, if found to be unconscionable. Most of the time, however, prenuptial agreements, even if challenged, can serve to limit the issues in conflict, thus reducing the fighting in the event of divorce.


Opt-out agreements, like prenuptial agreements, have the same impact, except are drafted after the marriage, but not at the time that the marriage is dissolving.


What is a Separation agreement, its advantages and limitations?


A separation agreement is an agreement designed to resolve all issues in conflict and to allow the parties to live “separate and apart” in accordance with its terms. After one year, either party can file for what is called a “conversion” divorce. Parties have different reasons for remaining married but separated and entering into a separation agreement. Sometimes the parties are not sure they actually wan the divorce, and this serves as a “trial” period. Other times it is purely economical. If the parties wish to immediately file for divorce, they would enter into a settlement agreement which would serve the same purpose of the separation agreement, except the parties would be filing an uncontested divorce concurrently with the execution of the agreement. This separation agreement is created under the guidelines of a qualified lawyer who drafts the agreement, the terms of which include:

  • Division of money, debt and property.
  • Custody of children
  • Parenting time with children
  • Health and other insurance
  • Maintenance and child support (financial support)


There are limitations of a separation agreement in that it is not a court order and the terms of the agreement cannot be enforced with the harsher punitive remedies available with a court order. Additionally, both separation agreements and settlement agreements can be challenged, and sometimes overturned in whole or part. Fortunately, with Mediation, the participants often agree to return for Mediation of any future conflicts, again, avoiding court and the costs and aggravation associated with that process.


Why Mediation Is Best


Mediation Is Best for structuring prenuptial agreements, opt-out agreements, separation agreements and settlement agreements because our mediator is an attorney experienced at drafted these documents in contested and uncontested matters. Maximum effort and attention is put into each clause to make sure it is in the best interests of both participants and their children. Call for a free consultation with Lisa S. Fine, Esq., Attorney and Mediator, to find out why Mediation is Best.