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Could a wedlease prevent a complicated divorce?

Florida residents may have seen a recent editorial in the Washington Post about a strange idea that may have merit for people who have already been through a difficult high-asset divorce or who, perhaps, just want to test the waters of marriage. The editorial suggests a new legal arrangement called a wedlease, which would be rather akin to signing a rental agreement.

The writer suggests that a wedlease would work like a contract with a period of expiration.  Couples would agree to a timeframe, such as one year. At the end of the period, if the relationship is working out, the couple could renew the marriage lease the way they would an apartment. They might even decide to opt for a legal marriage. If the year was not so great, they could go their separate ways with few legal entanglements.  

In some ways, an expiring wedlease may sound a little bit like a collaborative divorce. A collaborative divorce, of course, applies only for those who were actually married; it is a way for couples to work with family law attorneys outside of a courtroom in order to divide their assets and end their marriages in a non-adversarial manner.

The concept of a marriage lease is not likely to be without legal snares, involving financial challenges, child custody issues, and even property division. Still, the fact that the concept is being discussed suggests that some couples might find the idea interesting. 

When could a wedlease work? This report suggests that a young person contemplating marriage to someone who has already been divorced or, perhaps, has a criminal record or addictions might reasonably consider a wedlease—a sort of trial marriage. 

For now, couples either live together or get legally married. A wedlease would provide them with something in-between. However, for many Florida couples who are interested in this concept, they might simply consider a prenuptial agreement. Such agreements are a way to set rules that would later be used to resolve issues should a marriage come to an end. Prenups allow couples to chart their own paths instead of become subject to a judge’s decision when it comes to asset division; however, prenuptial agreements are not always legally enforceable. It is wise to work with an attorney when crafting one.

Source: WGCU, “Would some marriages be better if couples signed ‘wedleases’?” Mark Memott, Aug. 13, 2013

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Thompson Family Law, P.A.
3949 Evans Avenue, Suite 206
Fort Myers, FL 33901

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