THIS WEBSITE INCLUDES GENERAL INFORMATION & THE OPINIONS OF CHRISTOPHER S. MULVANEY.
THESE ARE INTENDED TO STIMULATE A BASIS FOR QUESTIONS RELATED TO YOUR PARTICULAR FACTUAL CIRCUMSTANCES – BEFORE YOU ACT.
THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE.
IF YOU WANT LEGAL ADVICE, PLEASE MAKE A ZOOM APPOINTMENT TO SPEAK WITH ME.
DISCLAIMER: The use of email or this form for communication with MULVANEY LAW OFFICES, PLLC does not establish an Attorney-Client Relationship.
MULVANEY LAW OFFICES, PLLC only does Prenuptial Agreements in conjunction with Estate Planning for both parties in which I do not represent either Party. If you want to be represented in an adversarial manner you should seek other Counsel. Once the Parties both become clients I can never represent one against the other ever. So, the Parties are both free at any time to each get their own new lawyer.
There are three steps to creating an effective and enforceable prenuptial agreement. First, creating an estate plan including separate property trusts is needed to label and segregate property and debt you each have now. Second, is listing all of those assets and debts on the attached spreadsheet. Third, is memorializing your agreement regarding how you wish to conduct your financial lives during marriage. This includes recording deeds for real estate, and consent forms for naming anyone other than your spouse as primary beneficiary of retirement accounts or other accounts with beneficiary designations. Any agreement between the two of you does not bind third parties. Recording deeds and filing consent forms with the custodian of your retirement of other beneficiary accounts does, which is why doing so is vital for effectiveness of your agreement. Fairness is the number one factor contributing to enforceability.
RCW 26.16.120 gives spouses the right to agree to property division.
Many other rights are contained in Title 26 Section 16.
Married people in Community Property states such as Washington have the right to hold separate property during marriage.
Holding Separate Property during marriage does not require the consent of a spouse for property owned before marriage, gifts, inheritance, and pain and suffering damages which are all presumed to be Separate Property. However, proceeding with your spouse’s knowledge and written consent is best.
Increasing enforceability of a Prenuptial Agreement requires each Party to have their own Counsel.
I believe that having one lawyer prepare estate plans for both Parties is best. The Parties waive potential conflicts of interest and each agree that they can hire their own lawyers at any time. Since I represent both Parties, I have to be fair to both and cannot keep confidences from either Party from each other. I also can never represent one Party against the other because of conflicts of interest. This promotes harmony and communication between the Parties.
Separate Counsel is needed if a Prenuptial Agreement attempts to address either of these issues:
- Attempting to add to Separate Property during marriage; and
- Attempting to limit or eliminate Spousal Support in the event of Divorce.
Prenuptial Agreements are less enforceable the closer they are executed to the date of marriage.
Prenups should be signed at least six (6) months prior to the wedding in order to be knowing and voluntary and not subject to undue influence.
A Divorce Court can void a Prenuptial Agreement in whole or in part to the extent that it is not fair and equitable.
A Prenuptial Agreement can also be voided by the conduct of the Parties in not following their Agreement.
I believe that each Party listing and sharing assets and debts has value. Learning to talk about financial issues effectively during marriage has value and reduces disputes. If you start doing so when you each have your own lawyers, I believe you are more likely to each have your own lawyers in divorce. By learning to communicate if you do end up divorced, I believe it is more likely to be an uncontested divorce by mail which is permitted in Washington State.
I believe that having accounts in your name as Trustee of your Separate Property Trust into which gifts and inheritance can be deposited has value. It is a hedge against divorce and a hedge against disinheritance of children if you predecease them and your spouse remarries someone who likes their own kids better than yours. This is what happened to Cinderella. If Cinderella’s father would have had a Separate Property Trust as a Married Person, then the story would have been very boring because Cinderella would have had the irrevocable gift from her father that the step-mother couldn’t touch.
I believe writing down how you are going to care for your Spouse, Children, Parents, Siblings, Charities, Churches and others has value. Doing so reduces anxiety and reduces disputes. Having some mortality awareness tends to make people behave in kinder ways and to have more gratitude.
I believe naming your Healthcare Agents and stating whether you want to be an Organ Donor has value. In the Terri Schiavo case, her parents and her husband litigated for 15 years (1990 to 2005) all the way to the Supreme Court before she died because she did not have a Medical Power of Attorney and Living Will.
I believe that stating whether you want your Healthcare Agent to “pull the plug” and whether you want food and water after that is done has value. Being on a ventilator is more likely because of the global pandemic. These are not the type of issues you want your family to fight about.
I believe that having appointing Mental/Behavioral Health Agent (including addiction issues) has value. Knowing how to both grant and restrict access to your sensitive Healthcare information can protect you from unauthorized access or use. Having some awareness of people’s issues with mental illness or addiction makes us all better and more compassionate human beings.
Christopher S. Mulvaney’s Mission:
To Always Be a Human Being First,
and My Role Second.
To First, Do No Harm, then to provide the best legal outcome,
smoothest process, best value, and to make a positive difference
in the life of every Client.
Christopher S. Mulvaney’s Mantra: