Why You Need a Prenuptial Agreement
Before looking at why a prenuptial agreement is needed, it is a good idea to look at what a prenuptial agreement is. A prenuptial agreement is a written document drawn up by both parties who are intending to be married. The document is written and properly signed, witnessed and notarized before the marriage takes place, It remains in effect the entire marriage unless both parties agree to change the document in a postnuptial agreement or cancel the agreement. In all cases, both parties must be in complete agreement, without coercion or force, to the contents of the prenuptial agreement. If one or both persons entering into the agreement do not speak or understand English, there must be an interpreter present to explain the document and oversee its signing. One party cannot have legal representation of a greater degree than the other. Stipulations in the document cannot include the amount of temporary alimony, amount of child support, details of shared parenting, and the parenting plan or attorney fees. Financial disclosure by each party must accompany the prenuptial agreement. All of the above is important as a judge can throw out a prenuptial agreement if it is improperly drawn up or arranging conditions are not met.
But why is it necessary to have a prenuptial agreement? For many couples, this option seems very unromantic and not trusting of each other. And, while this is true in a sense, in the United States, the divorce rate is near 50% with no signs of retreating which means a realistic view of the possible break-in “happily ever after” makes sense. This is especially true when either party has assets or liabilities of a sizable amount; personal effects considered “treasures” each desires to keep and real property such as a business or investment property. And, if a party has been married before and brings minor children into the marriage a prenuptial agreement can guarantee the child’s right to inherit from the parent should his or her natural or adoptive parent die.
In a prenuptial agreement, a party can be assured of keeping what is important which, if not in the agreement, could be considered marital property following the marriage. Sometimes, if it cannot be proven that an asset or liability should be classified as non-marital or it isn’t specified in a prenuptial agreement, it will have to be divided equally or equitably depending on the state of residence. Having a judge give a prized possession to the opposing party or dividing a business can be a heartache. Too, alimony can be a stumbling block when a marriage dissolves, so having this predetermined avoids a lot of discontents.
When feelings have been hurt, anger is present, and the world seems to be falling apart, it is a comfort to have a document already in place that helps guarantee a party will retain their personal assets and not be responsible for the other’s debts. A correctly prepared prenuptial agreement, most appropriately with the help of an experienced Family Law Attorney, makes sense in today’s world where divorce has a 50% chance of becoming a reality. If you live in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange or Hillsborough county in Florida or New York or Washington DC, Attorney Grant Gisondocan answer your questions and help you draw up a prenuptial agreement which will be acceptable in the Florida Family Court. You can call his office at (561) 530-4568 to make an appointment for a free, initial, in-office consultation. His office hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and, for new clients, Saturday from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM.