Life Planning, financial, legal, and emotional, in the beginning of a new relationship—using the collaborative process

The word pre-nuptial makes people cringe. It seems so unromantic and threatening when you are talking about marriage. You are in LOVE. As a psychologist I regularly work with young couples, or couples considering second…or third…marriages and they are deeply committed to each other, excited to take the legal step of marriage or co-habitation, but there are financial worries or legal entanglements, and sometimes pressure from parents and children from a previous relationship. What if they have accumulated some assets? What if there are adult children who are worried about an anticipated inheritance. These discussions create anxiety and stress, but not addressing them may create even bigger problems down the road.

My training allows me to address the emotional piece and I can help the couple navigate the relationship issues, but what about the legal and financial parts? Wouldn’t it be helpful to sit down with a psychologist, financial advisor, and lawyer together, as a life-planning team, to constructively discuss how to start them off on the right footing for a successful relationship?

The goal of using a collaborative team of mental health professional, attorney and financial expert is to help the couple openly talk together about their needs and interests and to make decisions that are good for both of them, as they begin what they hope will be a long future together. This not only allows them to begin the next step in their relationship in a respectful, dignified way, but teaches them skills to address the inevitable challenges which occur over a lifetime.

Sheila Cohen Furr, PhD, ABN
Licensed Psychologist
Accredited Collaborative Professional
Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator
Parenting Coordinator

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