Why Prenuptial Agreements Are a Great Idea
Get Professional Legal Help When Writing a Prenuptial Agreement
Prenuptial agreements in Florida are becoming more and more popular as there are more second and beyond marriages where parties have been “burned” by a previous divorce. Everyone wants to think that their marriage will last until death do they part, but in the United States, the divorce rate hovers near 50% and higher for second and beyond marriages. There is also a surge in grey marriages among couples over 50 years, many who have stayed together until their children are raised. So, in many instances, a prenuptial agreement is a great idea. Some positive points to consider are
- Make sure special items such as family heirlooms, jewelry, collections, high-end electronics, and all important belongings owned by an individual party before the marriage will stay with that party should there be a divorce.
- Determine alimony (spousal support) except for temporary alimony, which is decided by a judge and only used during the time of processing the case.
- Helping each party share financial and important non-marital property concerns with each other. Hopefully, the premarital agreement will never be needed. Still, if it is, time and money can be saved along with some emotional feelings if the parties already know much of the outcomes that will need to be decided.
- In cases where one party has a lot of debt, a prenuptial can ensure that the party will be the one to carry any of the remaining debt following a divorce.
- If there is a legal case pending where one party may receive a substantial award, a prenuptial will keep the money as a non-marital asset.
- Both parties will gain an education on what is non-marital and what is marital when it comes to assets and liabilities, including personal and real property and loans and credit cards. It is important to understand that in all states except
Idaho, Texas, California, Louisiana, Nevada, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wisconsin, which are considered community property states and divide all marital assets and debts in half, the division is equitable, not equal. Equitable means assets and liabilities are divided fairly, though not necessarily equal. In Alaska, a couple can decide which method they prefer.
So, what exactly is a prenuptial agreement in Florida, and what a couple needs to know if they want their prenuptial agreement to be accepted by a judge. A prenuptial agreement is an agreement between the parties of a couple before they are married encompassing the above issues, and this agreement must be:
- In writing, no other form of premarital agreement will be accepted, such as email or tape recording.
- Both parties must agree to all the terms in the agreement.
- Both parties must sign the agreement.
- The agreement must be witnessed and notarized.
- There must be no coercion or force of any kind, such as bribery, on either party to sign. If this interference can be proven at a later date, the prenuptial agreement becomes invalid.
- A complete and in-depth financial disclosure must be provided by each party. Again, if in the future information or a disclosure can be proven false or not provided, the prenuptial agreement will be voided.
- If the parties are represented by a legal professional (which is highly recommended), each party should have their own attorney. And, should one party not be able to hire an attorney as competent as the other, the less fortunate party should be helped. A judge can disqualify a prenuptial agreement if they find one party had an advantage over the other.
- Should either party not speak or understand English, an appropriate interpreter must be present at the signing to read and explain the entire prenuptial agreement. Enough time must be allowed for the needful party to ask questions and think about what they are signing.
- Attorney fees, Temporary alimony, child support, parenting plan, and parental timesharing schedule cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement.
Prenuptial agreements are a great idea when properly put together and written correctly. It is easy to see that though it is not required for a couple to have the help of a Florida Family Law attorney to help prepare and write their prenuptial agreement, it is certainly wise to use an attorney’s assistance. An attorney can help determine what is important to include in the premarital agreement as well as prepare the properly written document. It is also important that a premarital agreement is fairly balanced, and an attorney will know how this is done. The old saying “spend money to make money” can certainly apply here, especially if a divorce should be in the couple’s future.