PRENUPTIAL AND POSTNUPTIAL AGREEMENT
CUSTOM SERVICES AND LEGAL CONSULTING
Collaborative Divorce provides clients with a private, out-of-court divorce. Unlike litigation, where personal and financial information is in the public record for all to see, Collaborative Divorce is a confidential means of resolving divorce and family law matters. Instead of fighting it out before a judge who knows nothing about the client and their family, in a Collaborative Divorce the parties control the timing, expense, and outcome of their divorce or other family law matters.
The process begins by hiring a collaboratively trained divorce lawyer. Most have litigated numerous cases and know from experience that Collaborative Divorce is a time-efficient and cost-effective way to divorce or resolve family law matters. Additionally, Mara knows that Collaborative Divorce is the best option for families as it promotes rather than destroys relationships.
In addition to Mara, the other members of her Collaborative Divorce team include a neutral forensic accountant who works with both parties and their attorneys to problem-solve suitable options for the distribution of the marital estate, tax consequences, and support.
Finally, a neutral facilitator who is a mental health expert is engaged to facilitate communication, streamline the process, and where there are children, advise parents on children’s issues and timesharing. The facilitator uses her expertise and training to ensure that relationships are preserved and co-parenting is a priority.
With a targeted approach consisting of identifying goals and objectives; pre-scheduling meetings; setting agendas; and determining target dates, neither party spends their precious time or money fighting or waiting on court calendars, adjournments, and frivolous motions. With Mara’s advice and advocacy, her Collaborative Divorce clients are involved and invested in the process—knowing that they are in control of their destiny.
Mediation, like Collaborative Divorce, provides clients with a confidential, out-of-court resolution to divorce and other family law matters. There are two types of mediation: pro se mediation and mediation within the litigation process. In pro se mediation, the parties agree to resolve the matter without attorneys. As a mediator, Mara acts as a neutral, impartial facilitator to problem-solve, build options, and help the parties come to agreement. The parties are each free to consult with attorneys or experts and to review any agreements during the process so that they are well-informed before they sign any agreements. With Mara’s guidance, the parties themselves decide the outcome of their divorce or other family law matter. Decision-making rests with the parties, rather than a judge who knows little to nothing about the parties and their families.
In cases where there are substantial financial resources; issues of alimony or valuations of businesses, Mara brings financial professionals into the process so that both parties are educated and able to make solid, fact based decisions. In cases where there are parenting issues or cases where children have special needs, Mara works with child specialists to provide a more comprehensive and tailored approach in the family's best interests.
The second type of mediation occurs where there is an existing case and the parties are already represented by attorneys. As the mediator, Mara is brought into the case to act as an impartial facilitator to problem-solve, determine options, and help the parties—along with their respective attorneys—come to agreement. Per Florida statute and local rules, most cases go to mediation before going to temporary hearing or trial. In some cases where there are complex financial issues related to property distribution and/or support, either or both parties may bring in forensic accountants to problem-solve best options for the distribution of the marital estate, tax consequences, and support.
While all divorces and family disputes are unique, parties often agree that utilizing mediation has the distinct advantages of cost, privacy, confidentiality, and preservation of relationships.
Litigation is necessary in cases where the parties are not able to agree; one of the parties has violated court orders or agreements; or a prior court order or agreement needs to be modified. Family and divorce litigation require the skill of an experienced litigator to navigate the law and advocate on a client’s behalf. Mara works as a team with her partner Barry Finkel, an esteemed and experienced trial lawyer, to strategically advocate for her clients to secure the best possible outcome. Unlike Collaborative Divorce and mediation, where the parties control the process and outcome, in litigation a judge controls the scheduling, pace, and outcome of each case.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Prenuptial and postnuptial planning is essential, especially for those who have children from prior relationships, premarital businesses, or inherited wealth. It is important to note that having a prenuptial agreement bears absolutely no correlation to a couple’s relationship or commitment to one another. Rather, a prenuptial agreement can bring couples closer by having an open dialogue about money and financial planning during marriage, especially since financial issues are often the cause of divorce. These agreements address issues such as property distribution, estate planning, and alimony. They are specific to the parties’ goals, objectives, and circumstances and require the knowledge and expertise of an experienced divorce attorney in order to have thoughtful and durable agreements.
A postnuptial agreement is a similar agreement to a prenuptial, only entered into after the marriage. The need for a postnuptial agreement may arise, for example, if one spouse enters into a business agreement outside the marriage—and the business partners insist on a postnuptial agreement or where there have been issues in the marriage and the parties agree that having an agreement going forward may be helpful in managing the parties’ expectations and responsibilities within the marriage.
Both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements deal with property distribution, or support and alimony in the event of divorce, breakup or the death of one of the spouses. Neither a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can resolve issues related to child support or timesharing, each of which must be determined at the time of divorce.
In the end, the hope is that a well-crafted and drafted prenuptial or postnuptial agreement will be signed and put away in a safe place, never to be looked at again.
Custom Services and Consulting
After decades of practicing divorce and marital law, first in New York City, and now in South Florida, Mara has the knowledge and perspective to address a wide variety of issues related to divorce and family law. One of Mara's greatest strengths is that she is an out-of-the-box problem solver who thinks creatively and strategically to come up with customized, practical, and workable solutions for her clients. These specialized services are ideal for those who are on the fence about getting a divorce and need pre-divorce information or planning; those in the midst of divorce who need a new perspective and second opinion; and those who are post-divorce and need advice going forward.