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500 Village square crossing, #103 Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410
Grant J. Gisondo, P.A. – Family Law Attorney

Sunset Clause – Should You Add One to Your Prenuptial Agreement?

Grant J. Gisondo, P.A. > Prenuptial Agreements  > Sunset Clause – Should You Add One to Your Prenuptial Agreement?

Sunset Clause – Should You Add One to Your Prenuptial Agreement?

Sunset Clause - Should You Add One to Your Prenuptial Agreement

Sunset clause, what is it, and why would a couple put one in their prenuptial agreement? Before answering that question, it is important to examine what a prenuptial agreement is, as this will help explain the possible need for a sunset clause.

Prenuptial agreement: sometimes, before a marriage takes place, the couple will have concerns about such issues as a business, minor children from a former relationship, large debts belonging to one party, real estate property belonging to one party, alimony (should it be needed), certain special personal belongings like a family heirloom, and valuable collections and jewelry. Each party wants to be sure they can keep certain assets or not be responsible for certain debts should a divorce become necessary somewhere in the future. While it is romantic to believe in the “death, do us part” idea of marriage, the truth is nearly 50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce, one quarter of these being couples over 50 years who have been married for a long time. Another statistic shows couples who have been married before and believed in the romantic ideas when it came time for their divorce were severely hurt by lost possessions and having to assume large marital debt. Second and beyond marriages are not as easily entered into, and a high percentage of these couples opt for a prenuptial agreement. Too, the fact only one of the parties needs to deem the marriage irrevocably broken and a divorce will be granted can make it easier not to try to save a marriage and leave the other party lying in the dust. All states except South Dakota and Illinois are no-fault states.)

A prenuptial agreement is made before the marriage and must be in writing, and no other form will be accepted by the court. The document must be signed by both parties and witnessed under no pressure, and if a party does not speak or understand English, a proper interpreter must be present at the signing. A detailed financial disclosure must be completed by each party. No arrangements for parental timesharing, the parenting plan, or child support for any of the couple’s children can be in a premarital agreement, nor can the amount of temporary alimony or the cost of legal representation. It is customary for each party to retain a legal professional to help draw up the document, and a judge will sometimes disallow the prenuptial agreement if one party was able to retain an expensive lawyer while the other party could not do so.

Sunset clause: a sunset clause in a prenuptial agreement is a clause that specifically denotes an expiration date for the prenuptial agreement to be in effect. In other words, whatever number of years is specified from the date of the marriage will determine how long the document will be in effect. This is done to protect such assets as a business which may increase in value, and the couple wants to renegotiate the terms of the prenuptial. Most legal professionals feel using a sunset clause puts an unnecessary emphasis on the potential of a future divorce and can, in fact, create emotional stress and damage to the parties’ marriage. It is, therefore, usually recommended that as time goes on and there are significant changes, the couple can amend or modify their prenuptial agreement without ending it. In other words, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

If you live in the Florida counties of West Palm, Martin, St Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, or Orange or Washington DC, or New York, board-certified Attorney Grant Gisondo is well prepared to answer questions and help with a prenuptial agreement. For over a decade, Attorney Gisondo has helped couples in his Family Law practice. He offers a free, initial, in-office consultation where he will answer general questions and share how he can help. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and for new clients on Saturday from 8;30 AM to 1:00 PM. To make an appointment, please call his office at

(561) 530-4568. Be sure to check Attorney Gisondo’s website at http://gisondolaw.com to learn more about his Family Law practice.

Grant J. Gisondo, P.A.