Postnuptial Agreement For Hesitant Couple Buying Property
- Applicant: Ms. Huang
- Nationality: Chinese
- Applying For: Postnuptial Agreement
- Time: 2 weeks
- Unusual case for our firm
- Client has doubts about who to trust
- Client has very specific wants and needs
- Client’s spouse requires a very limited document
- The client is unfamiliar with the United States ways of life and laws
While we are primarily an immigration firm, we do have a hand in plenty of other types of legal disputes or settlements, and we do a lot of consultations as well. This case was essentially both, as our client Ms. Huang came to us for a postnuptial agreement, but one that was so limited that we essentially worked it as a consultation case. Ms. Huang had recently gotten married, sold her house in China, and moved to the U.S. Her husband had told her that they would use the money from her sold house in China to buy a house together here. However, the house did not materialize nearly as quickly as her husband had indicated it might. When she asked him about it, Ms. Huang’s husband told her he was resolving his debts, getting loans, and taking all the steps necessary to begin the house buying process. However, Ms. Huang had doubts. She was alone in a foreign country, and she was beginning to doubt whether the only person that she had for support was telling her the truth. What she chose to do was come to us, both because of our reputation and because we could also speak to her in her native language. However, when she explained what she wanted, and we offered her the standard, comprehensive postnuptial agreement that we do when we do get these few cases, she balked. She did not believe her husband would sign such a document. She wanted a much more limited document, one that outlined essentially that her money would go towards a house and that she would be reimbursed in the case of divorce. We nearly didn’t take her case, because it would have been very small and too unusual for our firm to guarantee a proper job.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
However, we agreed to take her case because we try to help all people who come through our door, especially immigrants, but also because she agreed to the consultation-style management of her case. Consultation-style cases are easier for us on a time-management scale and in this case, we could still achieve what our client wanted, so it was a win-win for everyone.
Ms. Huang wanted to ensure that her new husband would use the money, well over two hundred thousand dollars, gained from selling her old house to buy a house here in the United States. She wanted to be legally entitled to that money should she need a divorce or the house never materialized. She came to our office with barely any documentation for her agreement.
“She barely had three sentences on the paper when she came to us for consultation. It was essentially impossible for it to be legally binding. So, we sent her back revisions, she made them, she called us requesting more, we had plenty of conversations over the phone about the document. The final product was done very well. It covered exactly what she needed and wasn’t intrusive in her husband’s mind. I was happy we could help put her at ease and that they could move past this together happily.” -Andy, Paralegal
We had to walk her through the process of creating any sort of legally binding document before we could even begin to work on the actual terms. We also quickly realized that in her case, the customer service aspect was bigger than we realized. She was very unaware of many aspects of U.S. home-buying, immigration issues, and even some basic financial differences between here and China. Once we were able to get past those initial stages, she often called us to talk about what exactly she was hoping to cover and what she feared would be too much, too invasive for her husband to consider signing.
As clients go, Ms. Huang was very particular and very demanding. She even called to ensure that we had the correct birthdates and names on the document. However, having a client so hyper-focused on their case is useful to our firm, as they are accessible and tend to be faster and more thorough with their responses. Throughout a couple of weeks, we were able to draft up a fully binding document that did not stray from the constraints that Ms. Huang wanted.
We created a document that ensured that Ms. Huang’s husband had to use Ms. Huang’s money to buy a house, and in the event of a divorce, she would receive a full refund of the money once the house was sold, plus half the profits if there were any. If the house was sold for less than Ms. Huang’s investment, her husband would sell personal assets to reimburse her. We established what was and wasn’t community property as well. Both Ms. Huang and her husband signed the document, and now they can move forward with their married life and couldn’t be happier; this won’t be an issue in their future.
*Name has been changed for client privacy.