A postnuptial agreement, which can also be termed a postmarital agreement, is a written, signed, and notarized document contracted during a marriage. Usually these agreements center around the rights and obligations of each party in the event of death or divorce. Both parties must agree and sign without duress. A full financial disclosure is required including complete truth about marital assets that may be considered part of the agreement. If the couple is already considering a divorce and desires to negotiate a postnuptial agreement, the document will be referred to as a separation agreement. A separation agreement can be helpful in determining, without hassle, what will be the final disposition of such concerns (but not limited to) as property, marital assets, marital debts, life insurance, retirement plans, savings, and alimony. Child support, custody, and visitation rights cannot be included in a Florida postnuptial agreement, nor can attorney fees or temporary alimony. As with most legal matters involving a divorce, each state has their own set of guidelines and each individual couple has their unique set of needs and concerns. There are so many aspects to a postnuptial agreement that need to be handled correctly in order to stand up to the scrutiny of the court, an experienced, well qualified Family Law attorney is really necessary to help you and to develop and present the finished document. If you live in Palm Beach, Martin, Port St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough county you can receive expert legal advice and help in creating a postnuptial agreement tailored to you exact wishes by consulting and hiring Attorney Gisondo, PA, who practices Family Law in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Each year it seems the divorce rate in the United States is getting higher and at present, in 2016, US census shows it hovering near 50% after 20 years of marriage. It also shows a relatively new phenomenon called Gray Divorce, that is couples over the age of 55 divorcing after many years of marriage. In fact, in the 2010 census, 1out of every 10 divorces involved couples 65 years and older with over half being first time marriages.
With all the social media available to people today, this kind of information is readily available and easily food for thought. “Could it happen to me” becomes a real question. Just in case, “what can I do to prevent my spouse from getting what, in my opinion, should be mine?” Issues such as life insurance, marital home, retirement plans, alimony, assets, debts, and savings become important. And, sometimes a couple may prefer to settle these issues themselves rather than take a chance should a divorce become necessary. For, unless things can be handled at a mediation (now required in Florida before a judge will hear the case) in a courtroom the judge, not you or your attorney, will decide how these issues will be settled.
Other reasons a married couple may want a postnuptial agreement can include health issues which could become terminal, acquisition of assets one of the spouses wants to be sure stays with them such as land, a boat, or a family business, or to protect children of a former marriage or relationship from becoming disinherited should their parent become deceased, and/or wavier of interest in the homestead property. As mentioned earlier, each case will have its own set of needs and concerns and most certainly a well qualified and experienced attorney like Attorney Gisondo will be required to sort it all out.
Love is often blind and unfortunately this can be true when trying to determine what the future will bring. Once a postnuptial agreement has been signed there is no changing the terms unless both parties agree and that is highly unlikely. When issues such as alimony amounts or even relinquishment or who receives certain assets are decided “for today” it can sometimes be unfortunate further ahead in the future. Health issues, job loss, relocation, and/or certain events such as a large, unavoidable debt, can make your postnuptial agreement a hardship rather than a help.
In most cases a postnuptial agreement will be upheld. However, the court may disregard any part or the entire document if it can be shown that:
An attorney with expertise in postnuptial agreements can help ensure your document will stand up in court. Attorney Gisondo has this expertise.
Consulting with and then hiring the right attorney is the best and first step you should take. Attorney Gisondo would be a good choice. Each spouse will be required to fill out a complete financial disclosure of the nature, extent, and value of all their assets. Here truth is vital as the whole agreement is void if either party is found guilty of refusing to disclose all assets and their present and potential value. Every word of the contract should always be read carefully before you sign it. Items can be changed before the signing but usually not after and whiteout isn’t allowed. Each spouse should have their own lawyer to avoid a judge concluding the party without legal counsel was at such a disadvantage the agreement cannot be honored, particularly when it appears one party has the lion’s share of marital assets. Setting up and the writing of Florida approved postnuptial agreement needs legal council. Call Attorney Gisondo’s office at (561) 530-4568 to make an appointment for your free, initial, in-office consultation. He will personally meet with you and answer any questions and concerns you might have and will go over the details of how he can make sure your postnuptial agreement says and does all that is required in the state of Florida.