Katy Mickelson: Can Pre and Post Nups Make Stronger Marriages?

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Episode Description

Pre-Nups and Post-Nups are generally regarded as being manipulative and unromantic. But what if you could use prenups and postnups to make your marriage stronger?

In this podcast episode, family law attorney Katy Mickelson pulls back the curtain on prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. She explains what they can and cannot cover, what they require, and how to create agreements that work. [HINT: This is NOT the place to go DIY!] She also dives deeply into who needs these agreements, and when entering into them not only makes sense but can actually help you save your marriage.

This episode is rich with practical advice, demystifying the belief that prenups and postnups are exclusively for the ultra-wealthy. Instead, we reveal their relevance to a wide range of individuals. Katy also highlights how these legal tools can provide a foundation of clarity and security for any marriage.

Show Notes

About Katy

Katy Mickelson is an Equity Partner at Beermann LLP where she practices exclusively in the area of family law. Katy provides guidance on a variety of complex family law related matters, from drafting and negotiating prenuptial agreements to protect wealth and assets to representing clients with significant means in divorce and parentage proceedings. Katy's typical clients are thought leaders, C-suite executives, industry rainmakers, and professionals with a preference for thoughtful and impactful strategy over ad hoc representation. Katy is a trial lawyer, but prioritizes settlement via mediation or negotiation if at all possible.

Connect with Katy

You can connect with Katy on LinkedIn at Katy Mickelson or on Facebook at Katy Mickelson.  You can also follow Katy on Instagram at Chicago Divorce Attorney and check out Katy’s YouTube channel at @chicagodivorceattorneykm.  To find out more about Beermann LLP please visit their website at Beermann LLP or their Facebook page at Beermann LLP.  You can also email Katy at [email protected] or call at 847-681-9600.

Key Takeaways From This Episode with Katy

  • Katy Mickelson provides guidance on complex family law matters like prenuptial agreements and divorce cases
  • A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into before marriage to define financial rights/obligations
  • It deals with classifying assets as marital or non-marital property, spousal maintenance, etc.
  • A postnuptial agreement is similar but entered into after marriage, requires financial consideration, unlike prenups
  • Both require full financial disclosure, adequate representation, following proper procedures to be enforceable
  • Reasons for a prenup include: protecting premarital assets, family wealth/business, inheritance
  • Reasons for a postnup include: struggling marriage, wanting security before divorce is final decision
  • Both agreements require careful drafting by attorneys to be valid and interpreted properlys
  • They can make divorce less contentious by settling key financial issues in advance
  • However, poorly drafted agreements can create more problems than they solve
  • Agreements can be amended later in writing if circumstances change

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Katy Mickelson: Can Pre and Post Nups Make Stronger Marriages?


 prenup, postnup, family law


Karen Covy, Katy Mickelson

Karen Covy Host00:10

Hello and welcome to Off the Fence, a podcast where we deconstruct difficult decision-making so we can discover what keeps us stuck and, more importantly, how we can get unstuck and start making even tough decisions with confidence. I'm your host, Karen Covey, a former divorce lawyer, mediator and arbitrator, turned coach, author and entrepreneur. And now, without further ado, let's get on with the show.

 With me today I'm pleased to have Katy Mickelson.


Katy is an equity partner at Beermann LLP in Chicago, where she practices exclusively in the area of family law. Katy provides guidance on a variety of complex family law-related matters, from drafting and negotiating prenuptial agreements to protect wealth and assets to representing clients with significant means in divorce and parentage proceedings. Katy's typical clients are thought leaders, c-suite executives, industry rainmakers and professionals with a preference for thoughtful and impactful strategy over ad hoc representation. Katy's a trial lawyer, but she prioritizes settlement via mediation or negotiation if it's at all possible. Katy, welcome to the show. Thank you for having me. I am thrilled to have this conversation because I think what you do is so important and you lend such a vast wealth of knowledge to the conversation that I'm really excited about it. But I'd like to start, if it's okay with you, with your backstory. Why family law? What made you get into this area of practice?

Katy Mickelson Guest01:55

So I have somewhat of a unique background. So I didn't immediately become a lawyer when I graduated from college. I actually had a good career prior to that and my career was in the field of public relations. So I did a career in business for about seven years and a light turned on and I decided that I was going to go to law school. So about 10 years after I had graduated from University of Michigan, which is where I went for my undergraduate degree, I embarked in the world of law and between my second and my third year I had the honor of clerking for Beermann.


So that was 20 years ago and at that point I started kind of going down the path of family law. And upon my graduation from Chicago Kent in 2005, I was offered a position and I've been there 19 years, which is it's pretty rare in today's day and age to stay at a firm so long. But what I have found is family law to me was such an incredibly interesting and nuanced area of law, because what you were dealing with is some really complex problem solving where you're dealing with human beings, and, given the fact that my professional business always had been dealing with humans and messaging and really kind of understanding and reading the room and really representing yourself well. As it relates to sometimes some complex issues, family law just ended up being a really nice fit for me, so I naturally fell into this area of law, which ultimately really matched my skill set, which I already had the pleasure of developing before I went to law school.

Karen Covy Host03:48

Oh, 100%. I can see that If your focus was in business and PR and marketing and messaging and then to take that into working with higher level clients and divorce, it makes all the sense in the world because they need someone who understands the business world in a way that maybe some other clients wouldn't. So your skillset seems so appropriate, not just for our conversation but for what you do. So, but talking about our conversation, I really wanted to talk to you in this conversation about prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements and I want to start for those who might think they know what those are but really aren't sure. If you could start by just explaining to people what is a prenuptial agreement, what is a postnuptial agreement and what are they.

Katy Mickelson Guest04:45

For, sure, so I'll break it down. A prenuptial agreement quite simply is entering into a contract, contracting certain rights before one marries, so it's only going to be effective upon marriage and ultimately is going to allow for parties to contract rights relative to their marriage. So there are certain things that ultimately can be contracted for in a prenuptial agreement, and most of that is going to relate to financials, specifically some very specific issues as it relates to classification of property, to classification of property and ultimately how we define that property during the course of the marriage, be it non-marital or separate property, as it's often called and ultimately what is marital property. And the reason why we want to have these contracts in place is because, in the event of a divorce, that exercise is going to take place, where somebody is going to be identifying what assets are premarital or non-marital and what assets are marital. So it's somewhat taking the guesswork and pre-planning in the event of a divorce, which really no one wants. But it's almost like paying for an insurance plan.


You ultimately are solidifying certain rights in the future. So a prenuptial agreement deals with assets. It also deals with issues regarding support, and when I'm referring to support, I'm referring to maintenance, which is formally known as alimony. So maintenance is going to be a support for a spouse, if it indeed happens. Ultimately, it's not going to deal with certain issues and we can talk about that a little bit later if you'd like in terms of what a prenuptial agreement can't cover, important to be really thorough to understand your rights under it, because it's a contract and, like any contract, you have to be executing that contract free of duress, coercion, fraud, anything that will essentially undo that contract.

Karen Covy Host06:59

Yeah, it sounds like, from what you're saying too, that there are a lot of nuances to a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement. So I'm going to go out on a limb here and say would it be your opinion that people actually need legal representation? This is not a do-it-yourself type of situation.

Katy Mickelson Guest07:18

No, it absolutely is not.

Karen Covy Host07:21

So I have a question for you. It sounds like you know the classification of property, meaning separate property or marital property. Isn't that clear under the law, or can a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement be used to change what might otherwise be considered marital property or non-marital property?

Katy Mickelson Guest07:59

So there's a long answer to your question, so every state has its own specific set of laws. So, given the fact that I practice in the state of Illinois, the statute that I look at when I'm helping parties divorce is the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. I'll refer to it as the Bible, the instruction manual for all divorce and family law attorneys, because we look at it and we turn to that to help our clients, at least guide us in an outcome of a particular divorce matter In the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. So, for short, it's the IMDMA that's the acronym. It defines what is marital property and it defines what is non-marital property and generally there is a presumption that anything that you acquire during a marriage would be considered marital property. There are carve-outs that ultimately will say, well, accept this. And one of the things that ultimately is an exception is if this is property that's been excluded by the terms of a prenuptial agreement. So what's very, very important is that you are, you're essentially rewriting what the act says. So you're essentially saying I'm not going to rely on these presumptions, I'm not going to rely on what the statute believes is either marital property or non-marital property. I'm actually going to have control over that and then satisfy it on my own and be able to say I'm going to know what I'm going to going into this marriage, what I have clearly had defined.


Another common issue is, even if something is marital property, you sometimes have the issue where something becomes commingled or transmutes from one classified asset to the other. Nobody in the, I would say, when anybody gets married, nobody operates on an island. Real life may cause us to combine accounts, may cause us to spend certain assets because we have faith in our relationship. We're not paranoid, we don't maintain separate accounts all the time and some of those acts which feel at the time very innocuous and really probably are for the good of the relationship, can be messy when you're going through the process of divorce because then, if there was no prenuptial agreement and there was no defining characteristics of property, you have to go through tracing, you have to go through this whole process to say I'm going to kind of tease out what is separate property or non-marital property from my marital property, and it can become very time consuming and time consuming means expensive.

Karen Covy Host10:50

Right. So it sounds like one of the areas that a prenup would be good for is saying, hey, this is marital, this is not period, and then you don't have to go trace oh, how much of this was marital, or how much did I contribute to some account, or did it grow via interest or appreciation? Is that marital? Is that non-marital? It gets sticky right.

Katy Mickelson Guest11:19

It does because, you know, even with the existence of a prenuptial agreement, I'm not going to suggest that there's never going to be any accountability to make sure that there's been a tracing and that those assets have remained separate and apart.


So, for example, if I'm representing an individual in a divorce proceeding and they have a prenuptial agreement that's been deemed to be valid and enforceable and the parties are not contesting that that agreement should stand, I would not be exercising due diligence if I didn't make sure that this whatever is separate property or non-marital property has retained that character. So what it does is it certainly takes the guesswork out of it. Initially, I think any good divorce attorney is going to make sure that everything is pretty much true to word, because I can't tell you the amount of times where I've seen a prenuptial agreement and people don't act pursuant to its terms. Or they forget, or they and again you know I've said this before nobody really acts in a way in a vacuum. I don't think that people purposely try to sabotage what it is that they've done, but I think human nature ends up. We end up doing certain things that ultimately might make things a little bit more difficult in the process, and so that's what I'm hired to help with. That makes sense.

Karen Covy Host12:46

So I think you've given us an idea of what is a prenup, what is a postnuptial agreement.

Katy Mickelson Guest12:53

Sure. So a postnuptial agreement is a little bit of an interesting animal. So a postnuptial agreement I've already defined a prenuptial agreement as a contract entered into prior to getting married. A postnuptial agreement is a similar concept, but parties can enter into a postnuptial agreement, this type of contract, after they marry. And a couple things to know about postnuptial agreements. So prenuptial agreements, at least in most states, are going to be governed by statute and there is a Uniform Premarital Agreement Act that many states have adopted and made their own. So Illinois has adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. So ultimately, when we are drafting prenuptial agreements, we will look to that statute, just like as we are looking to the IMDMA that I referred to before A postnuptial agreement, there's no statute. There's no statute that we as divorce attorneys look to say, oh, this, you know, this is required or this is not allowed, or these are the things that ultimately you know. The things that ultimately you know, if litigation ensued, that a court would look to this specific statute for you know legislative intent or something along those lines. It's a contract and so with a postnuptial agreement, contract principles apply and so, similar to a prenuptial agreement, you have to make sure that the contract is not procured by fraud, duress, coercion and so forth. But it's a contract and therefore, given the fact that it's not I'll call it, you know tightly associated with a statute, with a statute, I think that the ability to invalidate such a contract potentially could be a little bit easier.


Now there's also without getting into too much, I guess, legal mumbo-jumbo. We have issues with consideration, which is you get something in exchange for something else. With a postnuptial agreement, there has to be some kind of valid financial consideration. Somebody gets something for giving up something else. In a prenuptial agreement, there is no consideration required. The concept is that there does not need to be an exchange, a postnuptial agreement. There should be some type of financial consideration in that postnuptial agreement and that might be some type of financial consideration in that postnuptial agreement and that might be some type of financial obligation, some type of something that ultimately people are bargaining for. So, without getting too much into contract law, that is something that people should consider when they are deciding whether they do want to enter into a postnuptial agreement.

Karen Covy Host15:42

So let's bring this down to some concrete, real world terms. Okay, so let's say that someone is considering entering into a postnuptial agreement with their spouse. What would provide that consideration, that quid pro quo that I give up this, you give up that? What kinds of things make for a valid postnuptial agreement?

Katy Mickelson Guest16:07

Potentially some type of financial support. Potentially some, for example, the setting up of an account for someone's benefit. Ultimately, the idea that you're entering into this agreement you get some type of financial consideration for it. So you know again, every situation is very unique. It's hard for me to specifically say what would be in someone's best interest to enter into for their financial consideration, but it is something that people need to think about when they're entering into a postnuptial agreement.


I want to make a statement about the enforceability of prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements. So something very interesting is certain states have different standards about whether prenuptial agreements really are valid and enforceable. With Illinois, Illinois is a very I'll call it prenup-friendly state. I would say that the appellate court generally has upheld prenuptial agreements as valid and enforceable. There are certain circumstances where they are not going to be upheld. Some states have more of a skepticism towards prenuptial agreements because there's a concern as to what led to the entry of that particular agreement.


There's been some really interesting case law that have come out with postnuptial agreements and, similarly, they're gaining more traction to be valid and enforceable, and so you need to make sure, though, you don't want to get yourself in a situation where you could find yourself where your agreement is not valid and enforceable, and really in both types of situations where you're entering into contracts, there should be a full disclosure of information. There needs to be adequate representation time to review the ability to at least have a reasonable view into each other's finances and so you really know what it is that you're getting into your specific needs for having a notary, witnesses who are watching the signing and there to testify, if needed, regarding what's been going on. So I just wanted to add that that you need to be very careful about the execution of various contracts and making sure that you're following proper procedure to make sure that they don't have those holes at risk of being held invalid.

Karen Covy Host18:40

Yeah, what I'm hearing as you're saying all of this is that people who are going to enter into these types of agreements need to, number one, each have their own lawyer because they're so complicated. I can just imagine all the different ways you could invalidate one if you were trying to go the do-it-yourself route, which I don't think either one of us would ever recommend. But talking about that financial disclosure, has that ever been something that, in your experience, you've seen? Someone say wait, I have to actually tell my spouse all the assets, all the liability. I have to disclose my financial situation. I'm not willing to do that. What would you say to that person?

Katy Mickelson Guest19:23

Well, I would say both types of an agreement, both agreements, are a very uncomfortable conversation. I would never say that they're, you know, unless the parties  have a meeting of the minds that they both have something that they want to protect in the process. I think it's a really tough conversation as it relates to financial disclosure. Tough conversation as it relates to financial disclosure. The standard really is reasonable. It does not mean I have to disclose every bank account, every aspect and detail of my financial picture Specifically you have. The other side has to have a fundamental understanding of what it is that someone has. So I have often had people ask oh, does that mean I need to disclose every aspect, for example, if I'm a beneficiary of a trust or if I have a family business something that's very sensitive, where there are other people involved.


There's a big concern about privacy. There's a concern about really a family who may not want to be party to such disclosure of their information because the spouse is marrying the child or the other individual and they're not marrying the family, and so I've often gotten questions about why do we have to disclose this information? From my perspective, adequate disclosure is reasonable disclosure and as long as somebody has an ability to have a basic understanding of what exists, I think that that would be sufficient. It's not an open season for somebody to go through all of one's financials. Moreover, there should be attached to either document and exhibit that both parties will have reviewed and seen, listing out basic balances of assets, liabilities and income as of a certain date and ultimately that's considered an adequate disclosure at that time that it's been executed.

Karen Covy Host21:21

So what I'm hearing you say is that it doesn't have to be penny for penny. But somebody has got to understand what their financial situation is and what they're getting into. What the agreement means right for them financially Is that it.

Katy Mickelson Guest21:36

Yeah, and I think you know, but I do think there is a certain amount of due diligence that needs to be done by the person asking. So I do think that one can say, if one was going to challenge the validity of a prenuptial agreement, well, I didn't have all the information. Do you have the opportunity, were you given the opportunity, to get knowledgeable about at least on a basic level? So I do think and this really I feel spills over to a lot of family law matters of the concept of due diligence. People are not expected to be attorneys and this is why they hire people like us to ultimately say have you thought of this or are these certain things that need to be looked into? That being said, I think there is a certain amount of responsibility to ask and to do a little bit of investigation. If there is purposeful withholding, I think that's a different story and ultimately, if proven, that could be a basis for someone to say, had they known about this, they may not have entered into the contract to begin with.

Karen Covy Host22:51

Right, and it sounds like you know the principle that we all learn in law school, which is you can't sit on your rights, you can't bury your head in the sand and just say, oh well, I'm not going to ask the questions because they're uncomfortable, right?

Katy Mickelson Guest23:07

Correct and that's why, you know, as we say, let us be the bad people, you know, let us do the questions, let us be the ones who are saying listen, my client has the right to know. One thing that I will often say is it's going to be a lot less expensive now to you know, to be forthright and, to you know, disclose what you have versus any type of litigation that you would face down the road to be honest and to be open to a degree meaning, as I mentioned, there is the idea that there is a level of adequate disclosure, but my advice to my clients always is put things on the table. You know it's easier to explain things away and you should never be withholding truth or information because it will come back to haunt you 100%.

Karen Covy Host24:05

So let's focus a little bit. You've mentioned a few things, but what are the circumstances under which somebody would want to, or need to, enter into a prenup and enter into a postnup? I mean, you mentioned family wealth. What are the other circumstances where you would say to a client yeah, you really need a prenuptial agreement or you really need a postnuptial agreement?

Katy Mickelson Guest24:30

Sure. So let's start with the post or, excuse me, let's start with the prenuptial agreement. So there's a huge, I think, misnomer that a prenup is only for people who are wealthy. I do think that people often they're getting married later in life. People are coming into marriages with assets that they've earned. It doesn't have to be significant assets. The clients that I specifically will represent tend to have more assets that they want to protect and income that they want to protect.


So you will see situations where these are second marriages, parties are older, there may be a family business, as I mentioned. There may be family wealth in the form of trusts or any type of beneficiary. You know any type of inheritance that might be coming. Even if it's considered, it's not yet realized, which is an expectancy. Some people want to be able to really tie that down to say there's not going to be any question about whether, in the event of a divorce, a spouse might have a claim to any type of inheritance. So I think there are a variety of situations where a prenuptial agreement is going to be very, very useful, um, to protect and define in advance so that people can live their lives and live their relationship without kind of the fear of, ooh, if I slipped up and maybe put this money in this account or contributed this to this, I've? I've really, you know, really confused the whole situation and maybe transmuted an asset from classified as, say, non-marital to marital.


There is a need for postnuptial agreements for some people who are potentially struggling in their marriage. They're not quite ready to get a divorce, perhaps they want to attempt to have the marriage work, but they want some security. They know that there is a potential down the road of could be litigation or the demise of a relationship and they want it's almost like a pre-planning and they want to have a little bit of security as they continue in their relationship, to know that they are set in the event of a divorce. So oftentimes, if people are struggling in their relationship, it might be something that they want to say. You know, I'd like to solidify my rights now. I still want to try with this marriage, I still want to try in this relationship, but it is something that is important to me, so it will give me an extra layer of stability and security.

Karen Covy Host27:10

So, if I hear you properly, what you're saying is that if somebody's struggling in their marriage, let's say let's make this real. One person has an affair and the other person is like I, you know, and then the affair. The person who had the affair is regretting it or saying I'm so sorry,  I'm going to leave the affair partner. I want to make our marriage work. And the other person is saying I'm not so sure. Right, how do I, how can I trust you? How do I know that you're? You know that you're honest, that you're being honest with me? Put your money where your mouth is. Let's lock down these rights now, and if you're willing to do that, I'm willing to give it another shot. Is that what we're talking about? I think you've laid it out.

Katy Mickelson Guest27:56

Well, I mean, I think that it's  somewhat of an insurance policy to say I'm going to be giving this a try, I'm going to be sticking it out for the benefit of us, our children, whatever the circumstances and every circumstance is going to be different where people are going to then contract and want some security in the future for agreeing to staying married and continuing to work on the relationship. So you know plenty of couples I know who get postnuptial agreements, live together. I mean, they're still husband and wife. They're not.


It's not a legal separation, which is an entirely different legal concept. It is entering, simply entering into a contract that defines certain financial rights and obligations as people continue to stay married and then, in the event of a divorce, again defines what's going to happen. But, quite simply put, the postnuptial agreement is put into effect after parties marry. And so you know the I often will get people saying to me well, I didn't enter into a prenuptial agreement, is it too late? Well, if you're having certain issues, you could enter into a postnuptial agreement. It doesn't make the conversation easier. It's still a tough conversation to have. But I do think if people want to make their marriage work and they see the benefit of that investment. It could be the right tool for them.

Karen Covy Host29:28

Well, what about? I mean, it seems to me and you tell me if I'm getting it wrong both of these agreements are voluntary. Like you can't force someone to sign a prenup or force them to sign a postnup, is that right?

Katy Mickelson Guest29:44

That's correct. They have to be absolutely voluntary.

Karen Covy Host29:46

Yes, so if you're in a situation I mean I can see the circumstance with a prenup right, so it's either and I've heard of you know, I've had clients who said, hey, they, you know, my spouse waved this document under my nose and said if you don't sign it, I won't get married. So then your decision is pretty clear it's either sign it and get married or don't sign it and don't get married. But in the post-nup situation, what do you? I mean, how does that work? Because you're already married?

Katy Mickelson Guest30:18

So it's a similar concept sign it or we get divorced. So you know you think about it. You've just used a concept where, and again I find sign it or we don't get married. To be frankly, coercion and duress and my you know my comments to a client would be this isn't if, if this is the way that this is ultimately reached. I want you to think real clearly about this type of relationship. So and again, it's an individual decision whether to sign it. I'm there simply to give my clients perspective and choices and to say you're in control of the situation. What decision they ultimately make is their own. It is the same thing with a postnuptial agreement, though in that respect it's sign it or I will, you know, file for divorce. Now, does that feel good? Do either of them feel good? It might not necessarily feel good. That doesn't mean it might not be right at that time for that couple.


You know, none of us should be judging as to why that might be a specific thing that somebody wants to do. You know, I have had situations where clients are going to go through the divorce process and they're actually have filed for divorce and they decide to put that on pause and actually convert with their differences to a postnuptial agreement to try and work on the marriage. So it's an interesting concept because it might be that divorce has already been discussed and even started and so in that sense people want to try and work on it, but they want some type of financial security. They want to be able to say you know, I got something for this and I want to feel good and protected in the event it doesn't work out.

Karen Covy Host32:13

So let's say that that is the circumstance and somebody's now got this post-nuptial agreement and they are in a state like Illinois that recognizes post-nuptial agreements and they've done it right meaning they both got lawyers and it was properly written up and notarized and witnessed and all of the things right Then it would seem to me that having that agreement, if they do end up going down the path of divorce, is going to make their divorce a little bit easier and less contentious, at least about whatever the issues are that are in that agreement. Is that your assessment?

Katy Mickelson Guest32:53

It is my assessment and your assessment is my assessment. I think that and I'll say that when I do either a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement for my clients, you have to draft it very carefully. I think there's an idea that you could have a prenuptial agreement done in a few pages and that would be sufficient. You have to be drafting such documents as if they are the final divorce documents in your case. So the same attention to detail. So if in the divorce process you reach an agreement on financials that gets reduced to what's called a marital settlement agreement, the same care and attention that you would put in a marital settlement agreement needs to be put into a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement, because you know then you've done the work and where you say it makes it a little bit easier.


The hard part is when they're poorly drafted or there are some conflicting language or there's questions regarding interpretation. We've talked about the idea of whether the agreement is valid and enforceable. We haven't really talked about the interpretation of it, which is a whole other. I could spend another hour on that, but it's a whole other concept. Is it well-drafted, does it make sense? Are there conflicting provisions?

Karen Covy Host34:25

You have to be able to understand what it is that you're agreeing to, and it can make it a lot less expensive, provided that the agreement is well drafted and can be followed both know that, as lawyers, is that you know, honestly, if an agreement is poorly drafted, if it's something that somebody thinks they can get off the internet from you know some document production company and it's a cookie cutter document that isn't tailored to their circumstances, they're actually causing themselves more problems than they're solving because now they just created something else to fight about. What does this mean? It makes things harder, not easier.

Katy Mickelson Guest35:16

And the last thing you want to be doing is spending your time in court or dealing with the expense and aggravation of interpretation issues and, for example, if you have a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement that's been executed 20 years ago, trying to understand what was the purpose of one provision that might have been drafted so many years ago, is it's going to be time consuming, expensive and difficult to discover.  So there's a lot of work that should go into it. That should go into it to make sure it's a valid and enforceable contract and also understandable.

Karen Covy Host35:58

You know you bring up a really good point. I mean, can these agreements, once they're drafted, can they be changed later? Like if it's been 20 years, can you write another agreement or change the agreement that you have to update it?

Katy Mickelson Guest36:16

The agreements will provide that you can amend, and amendments have to be in writing, signed, notarized, ultimately, in sufficient form where both parties have recognized what the terms are and you would attach it or have a copy of it and indicate that it's to say supersede one type of provision within the agreement. so amendments are possible because you are correct. Life changes and things that might have been valid in the case of a prenuptial agreement prior to you getting married. Also, the parties may not want to include it anymore and you might have situations where the parties actually they want to modify it because it doesn't apply to them anymore.

Karen Covy Host37:13

Yeah, or they've changed their minds about something. so, and again for the same reasons that we have both agreed that you need lawyers to draft them in the first place, getting a lawyer to draft any amendment seems to make a world of sense, as well.

Katy Mickelson Guest37:26

Absolutely, because, again, any type of drafting needs to be done the right way.

So you want to get somebody who understands what it is that they're doing, to make sure that there's no interpretation issues, anything that could go awry if you need to have it enforced.

Karen Covy Host37:40

Yeah, that makes sense, because otherwise, as they say, it's not worth the paper that it's written on.

Katy. This has been such a fascinating conversation and it's something that I think people know a little bit about, but now you've really helped them know much more and understand what all of this is about. So thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. Can you let people know, if they want to find you, what's the best way for them to do that?

Katy Mickelson Guest38:09

Well, the easiest way for them is to contact me directly, and so I respond very quickly to email and phone and any type of through my website, through beermanlaw.com, and really contacting me through my email address and my work line. I'm always able to chat and give people information that they're looking for.

Karen Covy Host38:35

Awesome. And for those of you who are listening or who are watching, we will link to Katy's email address and, you know, give her phone number in the show notes. So it'll be readily available and Beerman is B-E-E-R-M-A-N or M-A-N-N.

Katy Mickelson Guest38:51

Beermannlaw, all one word dot com and yeah. So you know, through the website you'll be able to find my profile and list a little bit about me and my philosophy of practice. So that should be.

Karen Covy Host39:08

Thank you again. So much, Katy. I really appreciate it. And again, for those of you who are listening, for those of you who are watching, if you found this information to be valuable, if you'd like this episode, do me a big favor, give it a thumbs up like. Subscribe to the podcast, subscribe to the YouTube channel and I look forward to seeing you again next time.

Head shot of Karen Covy in an Orange jacket smiling at the camera with her hand on her chin.

Karen Covy is a Divorce Coach, Lawyer, Mediator, Author, and Speaker. She coaches high net worth professionals and successful business owners to make hard decisions about their marriage with confidence, and to navigate divorce with dignity.  She speaks and writes about decision-making, divorce, and living life on your terms. To connect with Karen and discover how she can help you, CLICK HERE.


marriage advice, marriage tips, off the fence podcast, prenuptial agreement

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