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Prenuptial Agreements

Specifics of PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS law
Home > Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial Agreements

“A prenuptial agreement, antenuptial agreement, or premaritial agreement, commonly abbreviaated to prenupt or prenup is a contract entered into prior to marriage, civil union or any other agreement prior to the main agreement by the people intending to marry or contract with each other. The content of a prenuptial agreement can vary widely, but commonly includes provisions for division of property and spousal support in the event of divorce or breakup of a marriage. They may also include terms for the forfeiture of assets as a result of divorce on the grounds of adultery, further conditions of guardianship may be included as well.” In other words, a prenuptial agreement is basically a written, legal safeguard prepared for and signed by each partner before marriage or a contractual relationship. This will maintain ownership of certain properties and assets and the relinquishment or presetting the amount of alimony in the event of divorce or separation. In the state of Florida child support, custody, and visitation rights cannot be waived in a prenuptial agreement, nor the right to seek temporary alimony or attorney fees.

Why would a couple want a prenuptial agreement?

While it would be wonderful if all or even most marriages were “to death us part”, in the United States the census bureau statistics show the divorce rate over all after 20 years of marriage hovers around 50%, with a divorce occurring every 10 to 13 seconds. Statistics further tell us that in second marriages the divorce rate is 48% after just 10 years while a third marriage has only a 1 in 4 chance of survival with 73% ending in divorce.

 

With these statistics in mind, it is understandable that a couple, especially one entering into a second, third or further, marriage would be likely to want to protect themselves in the area of property and asset distribution and the payment of alimony. Additionally, if there are children from a previous marriage this agreement can help protect property rights of stepchildren and if the natural parent dies keep the stepparent from disinheriting the children. Too, the disposition of life insurance policies and what happens to property and assets if one party dies can be a concern. These later two concerns are especially true when older couples marry.

 

Unless widowed, previously married persons have experienced what can happen in a divorce. And, knowing that marriages can and do fail, a legally binding prenuptial agreement makes a lot of sense. While this agreement can be drawn up without legal advice, this is risky. To be sure the agreed upon stipulations will hold up in court it is wise to use an attorney well versed in preparing prenuptial agreements. Attorney Gisondo, PA in West Palm Beach Florida is experienced in these preparations and will prepare the appropriate documents if you live in Palm Beach, Martin, Port St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough counties.

Are there risks in signing a prenuptial agreement?

Yes. Probably the biggest risk is that no one knows the future. Business can fail, people can become seriously ill, jobs can disappear and what at one time seems practical such as determining the fair distribution of assets or the amount or relinquishment of alimony will, at the time of divorce be a burden or even a hardship. The flip side of this would be if either spouse becomes much better off financially or acquires valuable assets, the other spouse may not benefit or have an increased alimony from the amount agreed upon in the prenuptial.

Will the court always honor a prenuptial agreement?

In most cases, yes it will. Sometimes a Florida court will even honor a prenuptial agreement contracted in another state. There are, however, a few times a court will discount the agreement. The document must be properly prepared, in writing, and signed. Another significant reason you should use a qualified Florida Family Law attorney such as Attorney Gisondo. The court will also, upon proof, disregard a prenuptial agreement if either person entering into the agreement has lied about or failed to disclose their assets or financial affairs in full at the time of signing the document or if either of the parties was coerced into signing, for example bribed to do so. Too, if one party did not speak or understand English at the time of signing or have reasonable access to legal counsel the court may disregard the document. Consequently, it is best if each party has an attorney to help prevent these issues from occurring.

What steps should a person take who wants a prenuptial agreement?

You should consult with a qualified, experienced Family Law attorney. Here is where Attorney Gisondo can advise you as how to best address your particular concerns and needs. He will be able to prepare and write a qualified legal document that will stand up in court. He will then assist in the signing of said document to be sure it is properly witnessed and notarized. You and your spouse should carefully read each part of the agreement and be sure to get clarification of any unclear parts before signing, as a signed legal document is binding. Also, be sure to allow plenty of time to accomplish your prenuptial agreement as well. If, after reading this information you still have questions and need more information you can take advantage of Attorney Gisondo’s free, initial, in-office consultation. Call (561) 530-4568 to make an appointment. He will meet with you personally and in his own words, “I will always keep an open mind and will fight your fight as if it were my own.”

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