Recently, our office assisted a client in drafting and finalizing a prenuptial agreement between him and his fiancée. While our office has drafted prenuptial agreements and voluntary separation agreements for many of our clients, this client’s situation was a bit unusual. He needed the agreement negotiated and signed within a few days because he and his fiancée were planning to get married in less than two weeks.
Our client’s family had been encouraging him to speak with an attorney about drafting a prenuptial agreement for several months, but our client waited until just before his wedding to finally seek legal advice. Once he came in for his initial consultation, our office strongly advised him that his family was right – he should enter into a prenuptial agreement with his fiancée to ensure all his rights were protected if they were to ever divorce.
Our client earned a substantial yearly income working for the government. Additionally, he owned his own business in Washington DC, had a substantial retirement account, owned several automobiles, and had almost no debt to his name. In contrast, his fiancée was in the US on a student visa, she was not employed, she had several student loans, and she owned no property other than one automobile which was over a decade old.
Because of the very quick turnaround time, our office made the client’s case top priority. We immediately had our client come to the office to meet with our xperienced family law attorneys. During that meeting, we thoroughly discussed all of our client’s assets and liabilities, reviewed what terms he wanted to include in the prenuptial agreement, advised him on Maryland law, and provided our recommendations.
One of our family law attorneys came into the office over the weekend to ensure the proposed agreement was ready as soon as possible. Throughout the weekend, the attorney drafted the initial agreement, sent it to our client for his review, spoke with our client several times, and revised the agreement pursuant to our client’s instructions. By first thing Monday morning, the proposed agreement had been approved by our client and was sent to his fiancée’s attorney for her review.
However, once the proposed agreement was sent to opposing counsel, our job did not end. Unfortunately, while our office understood the urgency and time sensitive nature of our client’s matter, opposing counsel did not seem to have that same understanding. Our family law attorneys called and emailed opposing counsel constantly in an attempt to force her to treat this case as a priority. After a day of contacting opposing counsel every hour to check on the status of her client’s response, opposing counsel grew sick of our persistence and finally sent her client’s counter-offer.
Once our office received the fiancée counter-offer, we were able to negotiate the remaining terms of the prenuptial agreement within a few days. The final agreement protected all of our client’s assets and ensured that his fiancée would have no legal rights to his business, his automobiles, or his retirement account except for a small percentage that would be based on the length of the marriage. The agreement also ensured that our client would have to pay no alimony or financial support to his fiancée if their marriage turned out to be short lived. Throughout the negotiations, our office was in constant contact with our client and always provided him with our recommendations for all counter-offers.
In the end, our client and his fiancée were able to get married on the day they had planned. Because our office made his case a top priority, our client did not have to spend the days leading up to his wedding worrying and stressing about whether a prenuptial agreement would be signed before he said “I do.”