PARTNER AND MARRIAGE LAW
DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP/COHABITATION AGREEMENTS
When a couple falls in love, they tend to think about the happy times ahead rather than what would happen if the relationship does not work out. While it is difficult to consider, premarital agreements and domestic partnership agreements are important ways to protect your assets and your children in the event your relationship ends.
The attorneys at Terry & deGraauw, P.C. believe that the best time to discuss difficult issues is before a couple begins to share major purchases. If you do not create a domestic partnership, a judge could end up making important decisions about property division and child custody for you.
When you enter a domestic partnership agreement, you also spell out your expectations regarding property ownership, shared investments, division of assets and any other issue that’s important to you and your partner.
DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP/COHABITATION SEPARATION
Just like divorce, the end of a domestic partnership brings up many legal issues that must be resolved. The attorneys at Terry & deGraauw, P.C., can help you and your partner separate through negotiation, Collaborative law or mediation processes. Our goal is to help you create solutions that meet both parties’ interests.
Many couples shy away from premarital agreements as if they signal the inevitability of divorce. In reality, the opposite is true. The family law attorneys at Terry & deGraauw, P.C. can help you and your spouse create a prenuptial agreement that strengthens your marriage.
WHY GET A PREMARITAL/PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT?
Contrary to popular belief, a prenuptial agreement does not insinuate you are expecting a divorce. Instead, it provides the opportunity to approach the future in a well thought out and mature way. Similar to insurance, prenuptial agreements can help protect your interests:
- You can protect your children’s inheritance rights.
- You can protect your business assets.
- You can protect assets like pensions and real estate.
- You can protect intangible assets.
The content in prenuptial agreements vary according to the couple’s wishes, assets and liabilities. Most prenuptial agreements include provisions of property division in the event of divorce. One of the advantages of prenuptial agreements is that you settle certain issues ahead of time so in the event of divorce, you can accomplish an agreement quickly and cost-effectively.
To be valid, your premarital agreement must meet certain requirements under New Mexico laws such as:
- Prenuptial agreements in New Mexico must be in writing.
- Prenuptial agreements must be executed by both parties in the marriage.
- The prenuptial agreement cannot be unconscionable or grossly unfair.
Postnuptial agreements can prevent disputes over money by allowing you and your spouse to agree upon financial matters before disputes arise. They also spell out what will happen if your marriage ends in divorce. Otherwise, you could find yourself enduring expensive litigation in the event of divorce.
A postnuptial agreement performs the same functions as a prenuptial agreement but is established after your marriage. Couples usually choose postnuptial agreements after a career change, a significant change in financial status or a substantial inheritance. Like prenuptial agreements, a postnuptial agreement can:
- Protect your assets.
- Avoid costly disputes in the event of divorce.
- Define marital property and separate property.
- Protect the interests of children from a previous marriage.
Properly drafted, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can define your marriage and protect the interests of you and your spouse. With the guidance of an experienced lawyer, a postnuptial agreement can provide a practical, easy solution for preventing future disputes over financial issues.
CHALLENGING A PRENUPTIAL OR POSTNUPTIAL AGREEMENT
The attorneys at Terry & deGraauw, P.C. work to minimize the chance of your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement being challenged. We are seasoned attorneys who have experience creating marital agreements for high net worth clients. Our attorneys also litigate inequitable and improperly executed prenuptial agreements. To challenge a prenuptial agreement, you need experienced counsel at your side. We have considerable experience challenging premarital agreements and can give you a thorough evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of your premarital contract at any point in your marriage.
NEW MEXICO PROTECTIVE ORDERS
Domestic violence is a serious issue that you should not face alone. If you’re seeking legal protection from domestic violence in New Mexico, the attorneys at Terry & deGraauw, P.C., can help you file a domestic protective order. We are certified family law specialists who can handle any issues pertaining to the protection of your family as it relates to family law cases.
KEEPING YOUR FAMILY SAFE WITH CRIMINAL PROTECTIVE ORDERS
Protective orders are designed to safeguard you from violence or abuse by what the court calls a “household member.” Despite the term, your offender does not have to live in your home, in fact, he or she could be anyone with whom you have a continual or intimate relationship. Domestic protective orders prohibit the offender from contacting you via phone, text or email, and from being within a certain physical distance from you.
Our attorneys will begin by helping you file a petition for an order of protection in court. Typically, a Hearing Officer will then decide if you have a valid reason to be granted protection. A protective order can be entered for a period of one year, but extenuating circumstances can result in a longer period of time.
VIOLATING A PROTECTIVE ORDER IS A CRIME
Violating the protective order is a felony crime. If your abuser violates the order, you can call the police. Police may immediately arrest the offender or a judge may hold him or her in contempt of court. A judge may order the offender to pay a fine or serve a jail sentence.
Many family law attorneys will not handle domestic violence cases, but our seasoned attorneys can provide you with representation in all aspects of your family law case. As you begin the process of filing a protective order, you will want a lawyer at your side as you gather important evidence — such as the documentation of your injuries — that you will need to present at your hearing.
We are compassionate attorneys who will be your advocate inside and outside of court. In addition to the legal services we provide, we are also here to connect you to domestic violence resources to help you get back on your feet after your experience.
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