Columbus family law attorney Courtney Hanna discusses Ohio prenuptial agreements. Interview on Daytime Columbus NBC4.
Robyn Haines: All right. We hear the term prenup a lot when it comes to Hollywood. Right? Mainly people with lots of money, but they certainly aren’t the only couple that need to think about this possibility. So here to discuss, we have Courtney Hannah, president of Joseph and Joseph, Attorneys at Law. Good to have you back, Courtney.
Courtney Hanna: Thank you. Good to be here.
Haines: So there are actually kind of two terms we’re going to discuss today. And the first is the Prenup as I mentioned. So first kind of layman’s terms, what exactly is that?
Hanna: A prenuptial agreement is an agreement that is entered into between two parties that are contemplating marriage. So it’s an agreement as to, if this marriage is terminated for some sort of reason, what is going to happen upon the termination of that marriage?
Haines: Is it just money that’s discussed?
Hanna: Mainly it’s the division of assets and liabilities. Things like children, we don’t put in a prenuptial agreement, you know, everything that happens with your children until they’re 18 is something that’s modifiable and we don’t know what the circumstances are going to be. So things relating to parenting time of children do not go in the prenuptial agreement. So we’re really dealing with assets and liabilities.
Haines: Uh, is it difficult for people to kind of talk about the potential ending of a marriage sometimes as they are, you know, supposed to be in this blissful time of their life?
Hanna: Sure. First of all, I think there’s a lot of stigma that people have as it relates to if somebody is asking for a prenuptial agreement. They think they’re, like you said, entering into this blissful relationship. But actually a majority of our clients who have gotten prenuptial agreements are the ones that have not actually ended up in divorce or a termination of their marriage.
And the reason for that is because they’re having a discussion with each other about what their expectations are in this relationship. So while it is a blissful, romantic period of your life, it’s also that you’re going into a partnership with somebody or entering into a business relationship with somebody where you have to know what one person has and what the other doesn’t have and what your expectations are for that.
So just as we would advise if anybody’s opening up any sort of limited liability company or something of that nature where we would have an operating agreement, we would also advise, sit down, have the conversation, state what you’re going to do. And then you both are going into the marriage with the same expectations as each other.
Haines: And it kind of, uh, you know, encourages you to have these open, serious discussions that you should be having and some people avoid having.
Hanna: Of course, of course.
Haines: So that, that definitely helps. All right, so, um, when we talk about the post-nup post-nup then how does that work?
Hanna: So there is actually not such a thing as a post-nuptial agreement.
Hanna: A lot of people call our office and say, we’ve already entered into our marriage, we want to do this. Can we enter into a contract with each other to do this so that we know at the end of our marriage it’s going to be this way? And that’s just not an option.
Hanna: So the only agreement that you can enter into with their spouse would be an agreement leading to the termination of the marriage, like a separation agreement or something like that. So I’m really, if you’re going to do this, that has to be done prior to the marriage, prior to the contemplation of the marriage.
Haines: And so do you go in alone, do you go in with your spouse for the first time, I guess what is the process and, and how does it work best when you’re thinking about doing a prenup?
Hanna: Sure. So no attorney could represent both parties in the prenuptial agreement because then they wouldn’t be able to ethically tell one party what is in their best interest while also telling the other party. So when we’re doing a prenuptial agreement, we really like to work with another competent attorney on the other side so that both parties are really knowing what they’re signing before they sign it.
Hanna: And that’s really important. And if we don’t have another attorney on the other side, we go a step further and we actually video tape the signing of the prenuptial agreement where we questioned the other person to make sure that, number one, they knew that they had the opportunity to get counsel, that they feel comfortable signing the agreement.
Things that you don’t want is somebody to claim later on down the road that they signed it under duress or coercion or that their wedding invitations had already gone out. So they felt like they had no choice. So we really make sure that it’s key to have another competent attorney on the other side. And we’ll recommend some good attorneys for them to go to, to have that done so that we can both say that we’ve negotiated it in favor of our clients.
Haines: Okay so if you are considering one, as Courtney said, you can’t wait til after and say, I wish I would have.
Haines: So prior to that, um, if you need help getting a prenuptial agreement can certainly reach out to Courtney at josephandjoseph.com. Courtney, thank you.
Hanna: Thank you.
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