Divorce and the Law: Mediation and Prenuptial agreements alter divorce practice in Alabama

In the last half century, divorce has become oddly normalized within American culture. In fact, the current median marriage length in the United States is only eleven years. The relative normalcy of divorce has in some ways led to its monetization. Robin Williams once said, “Ah, yes, divorce … from the Latin word meaning to rip out a man’s genitals through his wallet.” While individuals going through divorce oft repeat this characterization, there are ways to mitigate damages and ensure both parties receive fair treatment and compensation.

For those who are not currently married or are planning to get married, it is important to consider a great available option: prenuptial agreements. Although these agreements often carry a stigma insinuating that the party who suggests the agreement is worried at the start of the marriage that divorce will occur, this could not be farther from the truth. President Donald Trump described it best when he wrote, “The most difficult aspect of the prenuptial agreement is informing your future wife, I love you very much, but just in case things don’t work out, this is what you will get in the divorce.” These agreements are documents accounting for each spouse’s individual property, finances, and other assets. The document is not an indicator of trust or love; it simply protects one’s assets. Although prenuptial agreements are useful in divorces, couples with these agreements get divorced 50% less than those without. This is likely because financial problems are often the root source of arguments within a marriage. When disagreements about money are reduced, spouses are able to more effectively cohabitate, or in the case of divorce, equitably separate. Prenuptial agreements significantly reduce the chances of argument about finances among couples, and should be considered by all individuals who choose to get married regardless of one’s personal reason to get the prenuptial agreement.

However, for those individuals currently contemplating divorce and who also lack the best option, a prenuptial agreement, the second best option in most circumstances is mediation. This is a popular and often advantageous alternative to traditional divorce litigation. Here’s the general principle of how mediation works: instead of fighting the case in court, the spouses meet with a mediator (most often an attorney) who helps them agree to terms beforehand instead of arguing it out in court. Once terms are agreed to, the i’ agreement is sent to court. There are two major advantages to this method over traditional divorce litigation. First, because the former spouses can work on an agreement with relative peace in the presence of a mediator, they generally are more likely to accept and follow the agreement compared to following court orders. The second big advantage to mediation is the cost savings. This method is typically a lower cost than traditional divorce marriage.

If you are seeking to protect your assets in the possible occurrence of a divorce or are trying to resolve a current divorce equitably, it is important to carefully evaluate your options. No matter the situation, your first step should be to carefully consider whether reconciliation is possible and if not then consulting an attorney is the next step. Many firms, including mine, do not charge for consultations. We promise to always look out for your best interest, and will be there to help you through every challenging step of the divorce process.

Written by Bennett Naron, intern at Reid Law Firm and Student at Samford University. Bennett can be reached by e-mail at bnaron@samford.edu

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