Mowery Youell & Galeano, Ltd.
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What if you could sign a marital lease?

A young girl falls in love with an older man in Ohio. She is head-over-heels and sees wedding bells and marital bliss. Her father, on the other hand, sees a very different picture. He sees the 15-year age difference, the issues with unemployment, the bankruptcy and bad credit score and children from a prior marriage. He also sees his family business and the trust he set up for his daughter's future.

The father wants to scream to his daughter about his fears over the longevity of this relationship, but she is over 18. He doesn't have to pay for the wedding, but he can't stop her. An attorney in Florida proposed "wedleases" as a solution to the problem.

The suggestion was made during an interview on public radio. A wedlease, he said, would act much like a rental agreement or a lease on a car. A couple could enter into a marriage that has a predetermined expiration date. After one, five or maybe 10 years the divorce would automatically end. At that point, the pair could decide to renew or walk away.

Should the couple choose to walk away, the marital lease would contain clauses that structure the end of the relationship. Each spouse could walk away with a lot less hassle than they might in a formal divorce.

If any of our readers are starting to think that this contract sounds familiar, let us just mention the term prenuptial agreement. Guess what? Even though a prenuptial agreement doesn't include a pre-set date for dissolution, it provides the guidance that can make the property division portion of a divorce go a lot more smoothly.

A prenuptial agreement provides the protection for that family business and trust fund that the father in our example above might worry about. It can also help protect the income earned by the daughter from likely alimony claims made in the event that the pattern of unemployment continues.

Source: KNAU, "Would Some Marriages Be Better If Couples Signed 'Wedleases'?" Mark Memmott, Aug. 13, 2013

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