Might You Want a Postnuptial Agreement?


What is a postnuptial agreement anyway?

It’s not as common to hear about these as it is to hear about prenuptial agreements. A postnuptial agreement is largely like a prenuptial agreement, but it is agreed to and signed by each member of the couple after the couple is already married. Keep in mind too, though, that courts may continue to favor prenuptial agreements over postnuptial agreements (search ‘postnuptial agreement’ on http://www.americanbar.org to read more about this difference).

Traditionally, prenuptial agreements conjure up images of disputes before the marriage as couples argue about financial issues and try to decipher whether their partner loves them for themselves or just for their money (in the case of a large disparity in income or assets between individuals). But prenuptial agreements as well as postnuptial agreements can be helpful and increase intimacy and trust as couples communicate about important issues to arrive at decisions that will cover financial and property matters in case of either one’s death or divorce. These agreements, if done properly with the assistance of lawyers, essentially make matters easier and clearer if those situations should arise. Having such an agreement can help alleviate the unknown in court and adjust some of the decisions a judge might otherwise have to make to be more in line with what a couple has pre-specified.

Did you know that one issue that can be addressed in postnuptial agreements can be matters about ownership and/or custody arrangements about your beloved pet dog or cat in case of a separation or divorce? It may surprise you to find out that in most U.S. states, including Florida, pets are still legally treated as property to be equitably divided during dissolution (divorce) proceedings. And what you consider equitable is not necessarily what a court would consider as equitable under laws they would need to follow. So instead of your pet being considered a valued family member with potential arrangements made for shared custody or visitations, most courts will determine your pet to be similar to a toaster or a car with a decision imposed as to which person will get this property (pet) and that’s that from then on.

Overcoming the Stigma Associated with Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Having a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help you and your partner reach decisions about many things, including property division, alimony, bills, and even your family’s pet. Although you make many discoveries about each other and make decisions about all sorts of issues both before and after your marriage, sometimes couples avoid discussing certain uncomfortable topics. Postnuptial agreements can help couples reach agreements on touchy subjects and can be used after months or years, as your situation changes- for instance, you can include decisions about pets that came into your lives prior to your marriage as well as pets that joined your family after your marriage.

Keep in mind that making such formal agreements can be seen as another responsible thing that you do as part of becoming a responsible married couple. After all, you buy life insurance even though you don’t plan on dying young or leaving your spouse before you’re both old and grey. So even though you don’t plan on divorcing your spouse either, think of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement as a useful tool that can help you both in case things do not go as you both currently envision for your future rather than as an assault on your love and commitment. You can decide things before animosity and strong emotions cloud your judgment. Remember too that most contracts like a car lease or a home mortgage have clauses that specify what happens if something goes wrong, even though you don’t plan on defaulting on loans or having a need to break a lease when you sign those documents.

Similarly, drawing up a suitable prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can be a prudent thing to do. And, you’ll both like knowing that you are determining and agreeing together as to what is equitable for your lives, rather than leaving it entirely in the hands of the courts.

If you still decide you don’t want to put your wishes down in a legally drawn up document, at least take the opportunity to have pointed discussions with your partner about financial, debt, child, pet and property issues.  Communicating about such important issues that are not necessarily part of your daily dialogue can go a long way towards strengthening your bond and creating a mutual resolve towards a shared vision for your marriage.

For advice about current laws and legal questions about prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, consult an attorney in Florida for assistance. Enroll at http://FLPremaritalCourse.com for additional premarital preparation. Most counties in Florida accept our Certificate of Completion that qualifies Florida residents for a discount on their Florida marriage license and a waiver of the 3 day marriage waiting period.

Getting Married Soon? Get Some Creative Advice From Guests

Love messages from friends and family

The guest book. An elegant wedding tradition.

Planning a wedding is such a monumental task. Although it takes place in a short time frame, a wedding is such an important life event. Since it represents the union of two individuals, it’s heartwarming to see everyone who attends. It’s nice to be able to look back and remember all of the guests that came to support you as you transitioned from single to married people. During the wedding planning stages, couples typically incorporate some sort of guest book to help them remember those who came to support them as they made their vows.

Add a spin to the tradition.

In many cases, wedding guests have ideas that can go a long way towards helping you get your marriage started on the right foot. But it can be difficult to meet and talk with every single guest, and advice that you receive verbally can be easily forgotten (especially when your guest list is long!). We encourage you to remember the people who attend your wedding and value what advice they can offer, especially those that come from married couples. Here are a few fun and creative ways you can engage your guests and have a great wedding momento.

1. Polaroid Scrapbook 

Have a polaroid camera on a welcome table and have your guests take a photo. Once their photo is ready, they can write their name on the bottom and put it into a photo album. Beside their photo, they could write advice and good wishes for the newlyweds. This is a great way to gather photos of everyone that attended the wedding and get some advice from all of your guests!

2. Photo Puzzle

Another fun and unique idea is having a photo puzzle with a photo the couple has chosen. As guests arrive, they can pick a puzzle piece and write on the blank side. At the end of the event, the newelyweds will have a puzzle they can put together, glue and frame. As the newelyweds put their puzzle together, they’ll read all of the advice and wishes that their guests have given them.

3. Jenga Game

One of the most creative ideas that we’ve encountered is taking a game, such as Jenga, and having your guests write advice and wishes to the couple on a piece. Throughout the years as the couple plays the game, they will receive the advice and remember their wedding. What a fun way to get some advice and recall the day your lives were united.

Planning your wedding is an exciting time, but don’t forget to plan your marriage for success too! If you’re getting married soon, take our Florida Premarital Course to skip the 3-day marriage license waiting period and get valuable insight and knowledge to help you achieve the marriage of a lifetime.

Engaged Begin to Plan Couples Thanksgiving Traditions

Bringing turkey to the table at thanksgiving

Two Families, One Thanksgiving

Now that you’re both becoming part of two families soon, you will want to discuss your couples thanksgiving traditions. Where and with who you will be spending this holiday tops the list of talking points.

So, where will you spend Thanksgiving?

Since each of you are probably used to spending the Thanksgiving holiday with your own family it can be a challenging conversation trying to figure this out.

Here are some alternatives to consider as you and your partner work out your Thanksgiving plans. Use the below possibilities as a springboard to your discussion. You may come up with a different plan that will work for you. Be prepared to brainstorm and negotiate as you narrow down to the best idea for your Thanksgiving holiday this year.


1. Spend it with one family and call the other one’s family.

2. Split the time and spend some of the day with one family and the rest of the day with the other’s family.

3. Arrange to invite both families (if nearby) to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday altogether at one of the parent’s houses.

4. Invite both families to all eat out together at a Thanksgiving buffet dinner (neutral territory).

5. Celebrate a just-the-two-of-us Thanksgiving. Then either call or video chat with each other’s families.

6. Celebrate with friends only. Either call or video chat with your families.

7. Make the Thanksgiving holiday do double duty and have it also become a party related to the wedding, such as an Engagement Party or Bridal Shower where you can also invite close friends as well.

8. Agree to take turns going to each other’s families every other year.

9. Take turns going to each other’s families but agree to some uneven schedule you both agree to, such as three years here, then one year there.

10. Just make a decision for this year. Agree to table discussion about future years until those years arise. Decide on any criteria (such as financial if travel costs are involved) you both think would be important to include to help you achieve a mutually satisfying decision in the coming years.

11. Celebrate Thanksgiving always with one family but celebrate a different important annual holiday with the other family.

12. Celebrate Thanksgiving on two different dates during Thanksgiving week, for example on Thanksgiving day and on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Arrange to spend time with each family on the different dates.


Whatever you decide, the most important thing is to listen carefully to each other’s feelings and ideas and then to arrive at a mutually agreeable decision that you’re both happy enough with. Agreement on any other Thanksgiving-related issues will just be gravy on top.

We would like to thank our customers this Thanksgiving holiday season. Thank you for taking our Florida Premarital Course and for including strengthening your relationship for marriage as part of your wedding planning. We wish you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Love quote: One day, in your search for happiness…

Florida premarital course love quote

Love Quote

“One day, in your search for happiness, you discover a partner by your side, and you realize that your happiness has come to help you search.” ~ Robert Brault

This is a sweet love quote from Robert Brault. It’s a clever play on words calling your loved one “your happiness” and with it also meaning that person is your happiness. Then they also get on board on a voyage with you to jointly continue seeking happiness together. Onward life voyagers!


You can start an online voyage of new discoveries to enhance your marriage by taking our online premarital course together at FLPremaritalCourse.com – only you and “your happiness” can find out the interesting places you may go!

Planning a Wedding: Prevent Feeling Disconnected with Each Other

By Elizabeth Hekimian-Williams

coupleimagelayingheadsoppositedirectionsYou’re engaged and planning a wedding.

It’s certainly an exciting time! However, be aware and be careful to not let this happen to you… Some couples encounter a problem in the months and weeks before their wedding day. One or the other begins to feel disconnected to their partner.

Why would this happen if you are both in love, happy and perhaps spending even more time together than usual? Several things can factor into this feeling of disconnect…

Often it’s because couples end up spending less quality time together. Some couples spend less time together during the wedding planning phase, and others may even seem to spend more time together. However, the time is increasingly shared or diverted to others and task-oriented towards completing wedding arrangements through meetings with vendors, family, and friends. If you let it, it can be easy for time alone as a couple, connecting with each other and having fun, to dwindle.

Chores that must be done while wedding planning also take up a good portion of the couple’s enjoyable and romantic time. Chores are not necessarily fun, yet they must be done. Planning the logistics is often heavily placed in one person’s hands (traditionally the bride’s). This can also make one person very busy with tasks and to-do lists, not only distracting them and taking them away from their partner, but also feeling more resentment if they start feeling upset that they are doing more than their partner. Even when brides and grooms help each other to do the many tasks involved in planning a wedding, they are usually focused on just getting those things done, not in sharing intimate moments of meaningful interactions together.

In other cases, the disconnect can be related to the sometimes difficult process of negotiating through arguments and problem-solving with each other to finalize all of the decisions needed to realize a successful wedding day.

It’s hard to feel enamored with each other if you’ve been disagreeing on a line item on your list for the past several days.

What are some ideas that can help you both avoid feeling disconnected or alienated from each other while planning your wedding?

Schedule private time together for an enjoyable activity regularly (at least several times per week). Lunch together, mini-golf, time in the bedroom cuddling or more, and beach-time swimming and smooching all count. So does a half-hour of uninterrupted “just talking” time that does not involve wedding task talk or blaming talk.

Seriously consider using a wedding planner to handle many of the aspects you are trying to do yourself. If you don’t think your budget allows for this, develop the to-do lists together with your partner and agree early-on as to an equitable division of the tasks, before the going gets rougher.

Try to keep and encourage a sense of humor, comedy, and mischievousness with each other while out running errands and doing mundane chores off your to-do list. Keep the mood light and playful as often as possible while doing the chores. For example, try putting on a comedy show on the TV as background noise, listen to a funny song or to a compilation of these, have some jokes ready to tell each other, and make it a point to find and share funny things you’ve seen on video websites or on other social media with each other while working on wedding-related unexciting or repetitive-type tasks. The idea is to make your time together less boring, joyful and more fun.

Here’s one more idea for taking a break from the mundane and decreasing the feeling of disconnect with each other. Take a premarital preparation course. This is just-the-two of you time. And a premarital preparation course typically includes new topics for discussion that help you each learn more about each other. This type of communication often increases feelings of intimacy and connectedness.  Some premarital courses are found online and offer more interactive and lighthearted content and exercises (for example, ours at http://FLPremaritalCourse.com). This makes it easier to fit into your wedding planning schedule and also improves your enjoyment of spending this quality time together- all while you both gain marriage boosting skills that further you towards having not only a dream wedding, but also a dream marriage!

Mother of the Bride Traditions

motherbrideMothers of brides are deeply rooted in wedding traditions. Their involvement can range from hosting the engagement party and assisting in wedding planning, to gifting a sentimental piece of jewelry or clothing for the occasion. Although some brides and grooms may forgo some of these, the mothers and fathers of each are held in high regard.


Hosting the Engagement Party: Typically, the bride’s family will host the engagement party two to four months after the proposal. During this time, the family and the couple works together to create a list of people to invite and works to ensure that everyone on their list receives an invitation to the wedding.

Coordinated Attire: In general, the bride’s mother is given the first choice of colors (that match the wedding scheme) and the groom’s mother will coordinate with her to make sure that they don’t clash.

Wedding Planning: While mothers on both sides of the family will usually take part in this process, traditionally it is the mother of the bride that is most involved in the process. However, in many instances, entire families take on different roles during the wedding planning process which reduces the stress and burden on the couple.

Sentimental Value: On either side of the family, from both mothers and fathers, couples are often given gifts with a high sentimental value. A mother may give their daughter or daughter-in-law their wedding dress, a piece of jewelry passed down by generation, or something else entirely.

Begin a New Tradition…

Traditions are important. They strengthen family bonds, honor our ancestors and welcome new family members. A joyful tradition provides positive feelings and memories which will be re-lived later in life, as the tradition continues.

Marriage Planning: While the wedding planning is underway, also consider the couple’s plan for marriage. Offer the couple advice based on your experiences, and encourage them to take premarital counseling. Take initiative and send them a premarital course as a gift! While there is no doubt to the importance of a wedding, every couple aspires to achieve a healthy and happy marriage. Your gift to them will provide them with the tools they need to make it happen. Couples that take a premarital course are 30% less likely to seek a divorce. Plus, by taking the course, they will get a $32.50 discount on their marriage license and get to skip the 3-day waiting period (which is especially helpful if the couple hasn’t had time to get their marriage license and their wedding is just around the corner).

Visit http://FLPremaritalCourse.com to learn more about this premarital course and get them prepared for the happily-ever-after that they deserve.

What We Can Learn from Actor Michael Caine’s Marriage Advice

Here’s some thought provoking marriage advice from famous Oscar winning actor, Michael Caine. Now an octogenarian, Mr. Caine shared his cheeky and insightful views about the secrets to having a long-term and happy marriage during an interview with Esquire Magazine. He had several interesting perspectives. Let’s take a look.

Celebrity: Actor Michael Caine
Length of Marriage: Married to his second wife Shakira of 42 years


During the interview, Mr. Caine was asked about the important elements to maintaining his successful marriage. Well, his first answer was to always have two bathrooms! We told you he was cheeky! So, the gist of this suggestion was to avoid sharing a bathroom with your wife or you will probably have trouble getting in there for your own shaving, teeth brushing, and other needs. Interestingly, we have first-hand knowledge of another couple who were very happy after they married, not just because of the usual love and marriage reasons, but also because their new house came with two bathrooms so they wouldn’t have to share one bathroom and toilet anymore. So, perhaps there is really something to this idea, even though we haven’t come across this while reviewing marriage research studies yet!

Next, the actor reported that he and his wife are both equal partners and indicated that this was “terribly important.” Mr. Caine indicated that they both work hard each day in their own way. In their case, he stated that she is not “the little woman” but that “she runs the whole business” while he works on screen. This highlights the importance of valuing the work and efforts that each partner of the couple does for the good of the family, the unity of the couple, and the success of the marriage.

This is in stark contrast to having inequality in a relationship. Inequality in a marriage often contributes to lack of respect towards one spouse initially and then to mutual lack of respect. This all prompts instability and distress in a relationship. What might “inequality” look like? It’s when one person starts to feel and act as if they are “more (important) than” their spouse. They also use words and actions to convey this and may become more controlling and possibly even aggressive in time. So with his second idea, Michael Caine shares an insightful ingredient to marriage success- become partners that are both working hard, both equally valued by each other, and working towards a shared vision as a couple.

His final tip for having a successful marriage is: “You must not lead parallel lives.” Mr. Caine explains that parallel lines do not meet and suggests that in a marriage that would be the equivalent of leading more and more separate lives. This would be where perhaps your spouse doesn’t go with you often and then doesn’t know some of your friends. Also, you start spending less and less time together and leading separate lives (parallel lives). He reports that in his marriage, they are usually spending time together and know each other’s friends. He states that “you’ve got to introduce your wife to everything.” To summarize: Avoid parallel lives and introduce your husband or wife to everything so that you generally are participating in life together as a couple, rather than leading separate lives.

And although it is important to have some personal time and interests as well, both for balance and respect in a successful marriage, certain things will create parallel lives that can work against you if you are trying to have a happy marriage. Destructive parallel life behaviors can include keeping certain relationships secret, not inviting your spouse along (they can say yay or nay, but at least ask), and spending more and more time away from your spouse and with others instead.

So it turns out that Mr. Caine shared some good marriage advice from his experience in a 40+ year marriage. Hopefully another one of his legacies can include touching the lives of some couples with his suggestions as couples endeavor to likewise have their own successful, multi-decade marriages.

Elizabeth Hekimian-Williams with Envision Love, LLC offers a fun and interactive online premarital preparation course that provides couples with more ideas and opportunities to bolster their relationship. Visit http://www.FLPremaritalCourse.com to get started on the path towards enjoying a long-lasting and happy marriage.

National Courtesy Month: 4 Ideas for Couples


September is National Courtesy Month!

In celebration, we’re challenging each other at the office and our readers to come up with and use new ideas to increase courteous attitudes and behaviors towards loved ones. Let’s start with the basics.

What is courtesy? A quick online search pulls up definitions that include ways of thinking, feeling and acting, which express politeness, civility, and respect. Here are some ideas to get you started…

  1. Instead of demanding that your partner do you a favor (“Get me …”) or assuming that your partner will do your “usual” favor for you (such as making you coffee, or fetching you something you asked for)… politely ask for the favor including the word “please” and also be sure to include a heart-felt “thank you so much” after you have been the lucky recipient of the favor being done for you. Stop thinking of these usual favors as entitlements. Remember that the other person is actually choosing to do you a favor- so be polite in your requests and be purposefully appreciative.
  2. When you’ve asked for or received a spontaneous favor from your loved one, challenge yourself to come up with an idea to reciprocate by doing some nice favor for your loved one during the next few hours. That way you can help make them feel well cared for and appreciated by you too in the same day. If they haven’t asked you for any favor, ask them if they’d like this or that until something strikes their fancy and do that for them. These little things count and they add up over time.
  3. Think of things you are doing that are the opposites of being polite and change your ways to being the more polite version of you. Convince yourself that you can do this for a week, and before you know it, you’ve done it for a month. A year? Get courtesy to start snowballing in your household! Here are some examples to get your ideas flowing.
    • Contribute to the niceness of your living space by putting away things or cleaning up without being asked to.
    • Help your mate with a task so you are instead doing it together. That will make it more fun and get it done faster when done with your help and companionship.
    • Stop using offensive words when communicating with your partner. Avoid cursing, being rude, yelling at, or criticizing your partner. Instead, choose to contribute to the emotional well-being and self-esteem of your loved one. Encourage and praise your partner for all that you cherish about them.
  4. Give undivided attention to your loved one when they are talking to you. Put the cell phone down, mute or turn off the television, possibly even make a physical connection, such as with a touch to their shoulder or hand. Make eye contact and listen wholeheartedly to show respect and care.

All of these suggestions go a long way towards showing more love and respect towards your partner. However, they are just the beginning. We’re sure you can come up with some clever or new ways to make your loved one feel more respected. So make this National Courtesy Month be just the first of many months and years where you both benefit from courtesy as a vital part of your relationship.

Go to FLPremaritalCourse.com to learn more strategies for a long-lasting, happy relationship. Please share with your family and friends too!

Beating Boredom in Your Relationship

boredcoupleOver time, couples often find themselves in a steady state, where the relationship’s initial highs and lows smooth out into a more predictable pattern. During this time, friendship matters as much, or more than sexual passion. Although this relaxed state can be comfortable and fulfilling, sometimes relationships experience a sort of boredom that occurs when the steady state shifts from comfort to stagnation.

How can you combat boredom in your relationship?

Communicate your feelings with your partner. It’s possible that your partner is becoming discontent with the routine that your relationship has fallen into, as well. Since everyone is different, is it important to communicate these issues. After all, what is boring to you might be exciting or neutral to someone else. Once you determine where you both stand, you can figure out the best method to spice up your relationship.

Predictability is the most common reason for boredom in a relationship. The best way to resolve it is to find ways to change up your routine. You can do this by taking part in some of the things your partner enjoys, and vice versa. Additionally, you can go out of your way to do new things together or engage in some friendly competition. You could also consider working towards a healthier future together by getting active.

Check out FLPremaritalCourse.com to learn more strategies for a long-lasting, happy relationship. Please share with your family and friends too!

Negotiation: Valuable in Business and in Marriage

Couple Negotiating

Challenge: To negotiate with your partner until you are both satisfied (enough) with a jointly discovered and agreed upon solution when a conflict arises. Does this sound too business-like a strategy for marriage partners to engage in? On the contrary. Negotiation is as valuable a strategy in romantic relationships as it is in business relationships. When facing a conflict situation standoff with your spouse, treating them with respectful communication, a solution-oriented mind-set, and equity in considering alternatives, is invaluable when you successfully resolve the current conflict and simultaneously both gain calmness and satisfaction as well.

Takeaway: It’s just as appropriate to negotiate with your life partner!

In order to have a successful negotiation, though, you first need to become more willing to change your mind-set. This will involve embracing flexibility in your thinking when encountering differences of opinion with your partner. Essentially, it is very helpful to change your mindset from one where you believe you need to “win” (the argument or by getting the solution you want over your partner’s) to a mindset where you instead will consider more alternatives and possibilities in a chase for a solution where you will both “win” (by each being happy enough with the end-result and also with each other again).

Your next task will be to begin a process of discussion and negotiation with your partner. Remember that in a successful negotiation, one person wins something they want, and the other person wins something they want. For example, when a house or business is sold, one party wins the property or business, and the other person wins money.

Leave the negotiation satisfied and feeling as if you both “won.”

You should strive for something similar, where you each are happy with something you wanted to gain or with the proposed end-solution. Sometimes that will mean one person’s preference is taken as the solution this time around. Other times it will mean the other person’s preference is taken as the solution instead. Many times it may mean that neither of your originally desired wants or solutions becomes the winning plan. Instead, you may both need to sit down and write down many possible alternatives during a brain-storming session. Then you choose one solution to try first and perhaps that one is successful. Or, if not, you just continue on down your list in a process of trial and error, until you find the winning solution that pleases you both.

Remember that to have a successful negotiation, you also will need to use respectful communication with each other. Avoid angry name calling, foul language, insulting language, and other disrespectful communications. Your goals are not to intimidate or shame your partner into agreeing with you. Your goals are not to have your partner become hurt, resentful, or defensive, or to shut down and refuse to discuss an issue further. So don’t say or do things that would further those goals.

Instead, refocus your goals. Your goals are to resolve the problem, to both be happy with the solution, and to continue happy with each other.

Keep your eyes on the real prize and negotiate!

Go to FLPremaritalCourse.com to learn more strategies for a long-lasting, happy relationship. Please share with your family and friends too!