Mention mediation and you might immediately think of divorce, custody battles and other issues relating to separation or the breakdown of a marriage – but by using mediation to write a pre-nup, you could actually benefit even before your happy union is signed and sealed.
A pre-nuptial agreement is a contract drawn up between two parties ahead of marriage, with the intention of protecting certain interests, whether they are financial, assets, or personal information about the relationship, against being used as leverage if the marriage ends in divorce.
It does not mean that you are not marrying for love – quite the opposite, as it allows both parties to send a clear signal that their intentions are honourable, and that they are entering into the marriage purely for their love of their partner, and not with an intention to later benefit by divorcing them.
A pre-nuptial agreement is not legally binding as such, but it will be taken into consideration by a judge if you ever decide to get divorced, and generally speaking as long as neither party nor any of their dependants is left facing conditions of poverty, most family court judges will closely follow the terms set out in a pre-nup.
Because of this, it is important to get it right when you write a pre-nup – both to ensure that the judge is able to take it into account without dismissing it completely, and also to make certain that the stated terms give both parties an acceptable settlement.
Using mediation to write a pre-nup allows you to overcome any technical points on which you disagree, without having to reach that agreement in isolation. Your mediator will, just as during divorce proceedings, help to keep emotions from boiling over and to identify the best compromise on aspects of the pre-nup where you simply cannot agree amicable terms.
Once you have agreed the terms of your pre-nup with the help of your mediator, you can take them to a solicitor to make sure the wording of your pre-nuptial agreement leaves nothing for the judge to object to; you will both need to have independent legal advice to ensure that the pre-nup is as water tight as possible. Mediation can save you time and money to get to this point and make working with your solicitor a much quicker and easier experience, allowing you to get on with the fun bit of the wedding.
Bear in mind that using mediation to write a pre-nup means you can agree on all of the issues upfront, rather than trying to set them straight during the actual divorce proceedings – allowing you to agree terms when your relationship is still strong instead of trying to reach a mutual agreement when you are no longer on speaking terms.
Of course, we hope that you never need your pre-nuptial agreement, and that your marriage remains a happy and positive union for the rest of your lives. If you do find that this is not the case, you can call on the help of a mediator once again to guide both parties through executing the pre-nuptial agreement and legally ending the marriage as quickly and amicably as possible.