Understanding Prenuptial Versus Postnuptial Agreements By Jeff Weissman, Attorney at Law

Nuptial agreements are contracts that determine the division of assets, properties, and debts in the event the marriage is dissolved at a later point. While prenuptial agreements are commonly used among high-wealth individuals who seek to protect their assets and income from the legal ramifications of a future divorce, other contractual forms—postnuptial agreements—can be implemented after the wedding has occurred.

In a prenuptial agreement, the assets and wealth of both parties are protected prior to marriage. A postnuptial agreement deals with issues that arise after marriage, such as receiving a large inheritance or a business transaction that was pending before the marriage, but was completed after the wedding. Postnuptial agreements are designed to address unforeseen financial issues that may be problematic in the event of a divorce. While the subject matter may be uncomfortable, both pre- and postnuptial agreements help foster communication between a couple and put financial and monetary concerns on the table in an honest and straightforward manner.

About the Author:

As an attorney with Gladstone & Weissman, Jeff Weissman offers counsel on marital and family law.

Parental Alienation Syndrome, Part 1 of 2

All too common in the middle of contested divorce proceedings, Parental Alienation Syndrome is the attempt of one spouse to alienate the couple’s children from the other parent, effectively destroying all emotional bonds. This alienation is encouraged by parents in several ways:

• The alienating parent talks negatively about his or her spouse directly to the children, saying things such as, “Mom/Dad left because he/she doesn’t care about us.”
• The alienating parent talks about the failure of the marriage and puts all the blame on the other parent.
• The alienating parent blames the other spouse for all the current hardships the family is experiencing.
• In severe cases, the alienating parent makes accusations of sexual, emotional, or physical abuse against the other parent.

Regardless of how the alienating parent attempts to turn the children against his or her spouse, the children realize that in order to win the love of the alienating parent, they must turn against the targeted parent. The consequences of Parental Alienation Syndrome are severe, resulting in children feeling estranged from one parent and guilty about this estrangement. The long-term consequences may negatively impact self-esteem levels and general outlook on life, as well as foster dysfunctional relationships.

Part 2 of this article is about how to protect children from Parental Alienation Syndrome.

About the author: Jeff Weissman is an attorney with Gladstone & Weissman, P.A., a firm based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He is board certified in marital and family law.

Interview with Attorney Jeff Weissman on the Role of the Guardian Ad Litem in Family Court

Jeff Weissman is a partner at Gladstone & Weissman, P.A. The firm specializes in family and marital law, providing representation in areas including divorce, child custody, child support, and paternity cases. Mr. Weissman is also a Supreme Court Certified Guardian Ad Litem; in this position he makes recommendations for the best interests of children in family court proceedings.

What exactly is a Guardian Ad Litem?

Jeff Weissman: A Guardian Ad Litem is a person appointed by the court to advocate for the best interests of a child. They are often appointed in cases of child abuse and neglect. They may also be appointed to look out for a child’s best interests during a custody dispute or adoption. In Florida, there are two types of Guardian Ad Litem. Some are volunteers from the community who receive extensive training and work primarily with abused and neglected children in the foster care system. Others are attorneys, who may work in the foster care system, or be appointed to serve in family law cases.

How does a Guardian Ad Litem advocate for children?

Jeff Weissman: A Guardian Ad Litem performs an independent investigation and talks to all of the parties involved in the case. For example, they may interview teachers, neighbors, and grandparents. They also monitor ongoing situations. Based on their investigations and monitoring, they make recommendations to the court that they believe are in the best interests of the child.

How does one determine what is in a child’s best interests?

Jeff Weissman: Partially based on training and partially on common sense. Typically, the investigation helps me uncover what is in a child’s best interests. I do ask the child what they want, but that does not necessarily mean I will recommend what he or she requests. Sometimes what a child wants and what is in his or her best interests are two different things. As a Guardian, I have a duty to report the child’s desires to the judge, but make my own recommendations that are independent from the minor, their parents, or other parties to the case.