4 Reasons Why Prenups Aren’t as Bad as You Think

4 Reasons Why Prenups Aren’t as Bad as You Think

4 Reasons Why Prenups Aren’t as Bad as You Think

Prenuptial agreements (“prenups”) have a pretty bad reputation. The common misconception is that they create an unbalanced power dynamic between couples, protecting the wealthier spouse by making it easier for them to get divorced and making it more difficult for the less-wealthy spouse to do so.

People also often view them as an immediate sign that you’re anticipating a divorce even before getting married; however, this is not the case.


Prenups are legal contracts that provide terms for how assets and debts are to be divided in the case of a divorce, or in the event your spouse dies.

Yes, they are created before a couple marries, but it does not mean that your partner is already considering the possibility of a divorce or your immediate death. If anything, they help couples know up front what their financial situation is, and it sets a clear path for marriage. Prenups
can also outline things like spousal support or inheritances.


Having a prenup in place can actually make relationships stronger because it will force each partner to set goals and expectations for their marriage.

They provide couples with the opportunity ahead of time to have the often-uncomfortable conversation about finances and give one another a better understanding of what is important to the other and how they can support each other. It requires couples to have clear communication
from the outset, which will positively translate into the marriage.


Without a prenuptial agreement in place, Alabama law will determine who owns the property, other assets, and debts acquired during the marriage.

Under Alabama law, a marriage is a contract so there are automatic property rights for each spouse, and when a marriage ends (by divorce or death) the state will have a say in who gets what. Prenups are essential if you want to try and avoid this kind of intervention. For a prenup
to be valid in Alabama, each spouse needs to be represented by an attorney. This ensures that each spouse is getting what they need from the agreement and that communication runs smoothly. The reality is that every single marriage ends. It will either end in death or divorce. Couples have to ask themselves, “Do we want the state to tell us how our lives will be divided?” Most would immediately say, “No.”


Prenups are also a way to save yourself time, money, and trauma should you find yourself in a situation where your marriage has ended and a lengthy, messy divorce is on the horizon.

One of the main reasons divorce is expensive is because people aren’t functioning at their best; they take a lot of time to work things out in their head, and that can mean far more conversations with a divorce attorney. A prenup can ensure that if
the worst occurs and the marriage needs to end, it can do so in a much more quick, orderly and inexpensive manner.

At Herlihy Family Law, we want to help you create a safety net as you make the decision to merge your life with your partner’s.


Author: Anna Eden

Attorney Anna Eden is a native of Mobile, Alabama. Prior to joining Herlihy Family Law, Anna worked as a law clerk for Circuit Court Judges Michael Windom and Michael Sherman. It was during her time clerking for Judge Sherman that Anna discovered her passion for helping people navigate the complex and emotional issues involved in family law.

Anna aids in the representation of individuals across a variety of family law issues, including divorce and child support, juvenile law, child custody law, probate, and wills.

Common Divorce Issues in Long-Term Marriages

Common Divorce Issues in Long-Term Marriages

Common Divorce Issues in Long-Term Marriages

Navigating the intensity of a divorce in a long-term marriage can be challenging, especially when you’ve been married to your spouse for decades.

Untangling your life from your spouse’s can be strenuous and emotionally draining because your assets and debts have become deeply intertwined and your familial bonds have solidified.

At Herlihy Family Law, our team of professional divorce attorneys has all the necessary tools to help you take the next steps with clarity and confidence. 


Separation of Deeply Entangled Assets 

In long-term marriages, financial entanglement goes beyond basic shared assets like real estate and bank accounts. Other common marital assets subject to division are vehicles, retirement accounts, pensions, tax credits or refunds, investments, and family-owned businesses. 

Alabama is an equitable distribution state – i.e. things don’t automatically get split down the middle 50/50. The court will determine what a fair distribution is based on the facts and circumstances of a case.

With long-term marriages, judges have more discretion on how to divide assets and debts. Part of these considerations include who contributed more on the front end and which spouse needed the most assistance at the time of the separation. 



Another crucial component of divorce for parties in a long-term marriage is spousal support or alimony. In Alabama, alimony is not a given but is largely dependent on the circumstances of the case.

Alabama judges have complete discretion over the issue of alimony. Alimony awards are going to be most common in a long-term marriage when one spouse has been financially dependent on the other for all or at least a significant part of the marriage.

Other factors the court will consider are the earning ability of the spouses; the property awards and value of each spouse’s estate; the health and age of the parties; and in some cases, marital misconduct by either spouse, including adultery. 

The two most common awards of alimony are rehabilitative and periodic. Rehabilitative alimony is short-term support used as a mechanism to help one spouse transition back to the workforce when he or she has a significant earning capacity.

Periodic alimony is a specific payment that is made on a specified, periodic basis. The circumstances in which periodic alimony terminates are when the receiving spouse either remarries, cohabitates with a romantic partner, or dies.

In Alabama, alimony is always modifiable, whether rehabilitative or periodic, upon a showing of a material change in circumstances. 

Emotional Distress on the Whole Family 

The emotional toll of ending a long-term marriage cannot be understated. Having shared a significant portion of your life with someone, the process of separating it can be daunting and terrifying. The heartache you will feel is inevitable.


It is no surprise that people say going through a divorce is the same as losing a loved one. You are actively mourning the loss of a significant part of your life!


This is especially hard for individuals in a long-term marriage because their family ties have been solidified for years and years. Their families have co-mingled for so long that divorce doesn’t just impact the parties themselves. Their larger family unit can be just as devastated. 

Disconnecting from in-laws and relatives who have provided you with childcare, friendship, emotional support, or guidance is no easy feat.

Whether you have children or not, maintaining these extended family relationships may be important to you. You and your extended family can mitigate the impact of divorce by finding reassurance that it is a shared experience. And the relationship can endure through mutual respect and open communication. 

Separation of Social Lives 

Divorce can also impact your social circles and personal identity. Couples spend years building mutual friendships and shared hobbies.

A divorce means not only dividing assets and responsibilities but also reshaping your social life. One common change in social circles after divorce is a shift in mutual friends.

Often, couples tend to have shared friends who may feel caught in the middle or unsure how to remain connected with both individuals. 

Communication is always key. Be open and honest with your friends about what you’re going through. Let them know if you need space or if you want their support. It’s okay to lean on them during this difficult time.

Some friends may choose sides or feel uncomfortable maintaining relationships with both parties. This can lead to an inevitable reevaluation of one’s social circle and potentially the loss of friendships. 

Grief over lost friendships is normal and should be acknowledged; however, it’s also essential not to dwell on what was lost but instead focus on building healthier relationships moving forward.

Divorced individuals may find themselves seeking out new connections and support systems outside their previous circle. This could mean joining new clubs or organizations, attending events related to personal interests, or even exploring online communities where they can connect with others going through similar experiences.

Finding support and building a strong social circle post-divorce can be a challenging but essential part of moving forward in your life. 


Author: Anna Eden

Attorney Anna Eden is a native of Mobile, Alabama. Prior to joining Herlihy Family Law, Anna worked as a law clerk for Circuit Court Judges Michael Windom and Michael Sherman. It was during her time clerking for Judge Sherman that Anna discovered her passion for helping people navigate the complex and emotional issues involved in family law.

Anna aids in the representation of individuals across a variety of family law issues, including divorce and child support, juvenile law, child custody law, probate, and wills.

Divorce Cost: How Much Does It Really Cost?

Divorce Cost: How Much Does It Really Cost?

Divorce Cost: How Much Does It Really Cost?

A very common question we get asked is how much does divorce cost? While no one enters into marriage anticipating getting divorced, when a marriage is not sustainable, divorce can be the answer and the beginning of your new life. Of course, as with anything in life, divorce is not free.

However, there are ways to plan and choose the path that is most well-suited for your situation, needs, and budget.


Understanding the Price Tag: How Much Does a Divorce Cost?

Divorce is not “one size fits all” and the price of a divorce varies based on the facts. More complicated assets, finances, child custody, and fault allegations make divorces more complicated and often more expensive. Divorces with limited assets, more simple finances, and without child custody are often less expensive.

However, every divorce is different and the parties are the ones that often determine how much a divorce will cost. Pretrial hearings subpoenaed records, discovery, and the filing of motions and pleadings can cause divorce litigation to be more and more expensive.

The facts of the case are going to dictate the necessity of increased litigation expenses or the ability to avoid the same.


Affordable Options: Exploring the Cost of a Simple Uncontested Divorce

The cheapest option for divorce is an uncontested divorce.  This requires the parties to have an agreement and be agreeable to the terms of their divorce.

Upon an agreement being written up, it is signed and notarized by both parties and then filed with the Court along with any other necessary documents required by the clerk’s office.

Uncontested divorces require the parties to agree to all the terms of their divorce. Any disagreement as to the terms therein can prevent an uncontested divorce from being filed and leave the parties no closer to getting divorced.

In addition to facilitating uncontested divorce agreements, Herlihy Family Law, PC also offers the option for people to purchase an uncontested divorce package for $500 and fill out the necessary paperwork included in the package themselves using the detailed instructions included with them.

This can be a great option for parties that have had a short marriage, have few assets, and have limited finances. However, yet again if there is not an agreement the parties remain married and without a pending divorce case and eventual trial date.


The Role of Lawyers: How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Cost?

Most divorce attorneys either charge based on an hourly rate or have some sort of flat fee structure. Hourly billing is more common in family law as the time involved in a divorce or custody case can vary greatly from case to case, and flat fee structures often do not accommodate for complex and cases requiring heavy time commitments.

Costs of divorces billed by the hour will vary based on the amount of time required in the case, the number of hearings necessary, and amount of filings and documents involved.

Also, sometimes flat fee structures will either be high or low based on the complexity and attorney involvement needed in a divorce case.

Retaining the services of an attorney is going to allow for the highest level of guidance and attentive legal advice through your divorce; however this involvement is going to be more expensive than pursuing an uncontested divorce, but often unavoidable when a contentious divorce is at hand.


Filing for Divorce: Examining Additional Expenses Involved

In addition to legal expenses for attorneys, court filings, subpoenas, document production, and other expenses related to filing your contested divorce or uncontested divorce, there are other expenses that are involved when getting divorced. Parties’ normal household and marital expenses must continue to be paid pending divorce.

Additionally, if one person decides to move out pending divorce, those are additional costs a party may choose to incur based on circumstances.

Depending on how long it takes the parties to divorce, these status quo expenses could have to be upheld for quite some time before the parties receive their Judgment of Divorce.


Budgeting for Divorce

While it is hard to budget for divorce, knowing the many expenses involved, the timeline possible, and the options can make the process easier to prepare for.

Most people enter their marriage never expecting to get divorced, but it becomes necessary for many married people and affords individuals a new beginning.


Author: Walter Gewin

Attorney Walter Gewin is a native of Mobile, Alabama. After graduation from law school, Walter clerked for Circuit Court Judge John Lockett before pursuing a career in the private practice of law. Initially, practicing a wide variety of law; Walter’s practice has become more focused on family law, including juvenile, probate, and domestic relations matters. Walter also currently serves as a certified Guardian Ad Litem in Dependency, Delinquency, and Domestic Relations matters.

10 critical pieces of paperwork you need to file divorce

10 critical pieces of paperwork you need to file divorce

10 critical pieces of paperwork you need to file divorce

A lot of divorce clients ask me, what documents do I need to get together? Here is a list of some of the most important documents you will need:

  1. Complete income tax returns, W2s, and other like documents for the last 3 years.
  2.  Year-to-date income information (such as pay stubs) for yourself and your spouse.
  3. Statements for banking and other financial accounts for the past 12 months.
  4. Statements for credit cards and other debts for the past 12 months.
  5.  If you have children, copies of the monthly out-of-pocket cost of health insurance and the number of people covered on the plan. If you have employer-provided health insurance, this may be on your pay stub.
  6. If you have children, copies of any work-related daycare expense.
  7. Deeds, appraisals, mortgages, or other like documents for all real estate.
  8. Your will and your spouse’s will.
  9. Life insurance policies for you and your spouse.
  10. Certificates of title or other ownership documents regarding any cars, boats, motorcycles, RVs, or any type of titled vehicle.

Powers of Attorney vs. Health Care Directives

Powers of Attorney vs. Health Care Directives

Powers of Attorney vs. Health Care Directives

Many people are unfamiliar with the legal distinctions between powers of attorney, health care directives, and guardianships/conservatorships.

Power of Attorney

A Power of Attorney is a legal document giving authority to another person to act for you in either specified or all legal and financial matters. The person giving power of attorney must presently have the capacity to do so. That is, they must understand what they are doing and be able to make important decisions. If you are concerned that you may become incapacitated for health or another reason (for example, unavailable due to being out of the country), it is a good idea to give power of attorney to someone that you trust. Note: This person will have the authority to conduct legal or financial transactions as if they are you, with no further notice to or permission from you, so be very careful when granting someone your power of attorney.

Health Care Directive

A Health Care Directive, also known as a living will, personal directive, advance directive, or medical directive is a legal document specifying what actions should be taken for a person’s health if they no longer can make decisions for themselves due to illness or incapacity. In your health care directive, you make decisions about whether you would want to be kept alive by artificial means if you are terminally ill or permanently incapacitated, or whether to allow other treatment which would keep you alive but which could not cure you. You can also designate someone to make those decisions for you if you are unable to do so.


A Guardianship or Conservatorship is granted only in instances in which an individual is already mentally or physically incapacitated and cannot take care of himself or manage his affairs. There must be medical evidence in support of same presented for the Court to order a Guardianship or Conservatorship. A Guardianship applies to matters affecting the person, and Conservatorship strictly applies to their assets and financial affairs.

Please contact Herlihy Family Law if we can assist you or your family with a Power of Attorney, Health Care Directive, or Guardianship/Conservatorship.

Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

Divorce and the sale of your home often go hand in hand. Below are some tips from Carolyn Hasser, a local Realtor with Roberts Brothers.

Getting your home ready to sell

If you’re thinking of selling, here are a few tips to help you get top dollar for your home!

1. Spruce up your yard – plant a few flowers, hang a couple of ferns on the front porch, trim your shrubs back so that your windows can be seen, pull vines away from the house or eliminate them completely, edge, replace missing grass, and pick up toys. Curb appeal beckons your buyer to come inside, and if the outside doesn’t look neat and well kept, no one will want to go inside!

2. Declutter – Take personal pictures and put them away – buyers want to imagine their pictures and belongings in the house, and too many personal items like collectibles and pictures are distracting. Even too much furniture can keep the home from looking spacious. In the kitchen, remove as much as you can off the countertops. Either pack it away or put it into a cabinet. And don’t forget the garage! You’ll be moving anyway, so pack up as much as you can and store it. It may help to hire a professional stager to give his/her opinion and help you rearrange. Your realtor should be able to help you as well, or ask a friend whose taste you appreciate to be honest with you.

3. Clean out your closets – Space is a big seller, and if there are out of season clothes you don’t need at the moment, pack them away under beds or take them somewhere to be stored.

4. Keep rooms clean and neat – Sometimes a buyer will want to see your house at a moment’s notice – and you don’t want to pass that up, so keep everything in its place. If you have children (or a messy spouse!) just grab everything and put it in a container if you need to show quickly. Clean windows and bathrooms and make your kitchen sparkle.

5. Take Fido with you – or at least kennel him. You wouldn’t believe how many people are terrified of dogs. And if he does his business in the yard scoop it up!

6. List with a realtor – I know, it sounds self serving, but the fact of the matter is that realtors are the oldest profession in our country (well – maybe the SECOND oldest), and with good reason: a realtor can almost always sell your home faster, and for more money, than you can. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), over 78% of those who list a home for sale themselves either (a) give up, or (b) list with a realtor. Realtors have already prequalified buyers, so you don’t waste your time showing your home to someone who can’t afford it. And, realtors are trained to negotiate and can keep the “emotions” out of it.

You may reach Carolyn Hasser at 661-4660 or CarolynHasser@RobertsBrothers.com.