Florida Prenuptial & post-nuptial agreements
A prenuptial agreement --also referred to as an antenuptial agreement or a premarital agreement --is a contract entered into by a man and woman in anticipation of their marriage. Premarital agreements usually outline the division of assets and debts and form and amount of support, if any, that each party will be entitled to in the event of divorce or death. Although prenuptial agreements can be binding on issues of division of property, spousal support and alimony, prenuptial agreements are generally not binding on issues of child custody and, on occasion, child support.
A man or woman who wants a future spouse to sign a prenuptial agreement often has something he or she wants to protect from the Florida equitable distribution process in the event the marriage fails. One or both potential spouses may want to avoid the risk of a major loss of assets, income, or a family business in the event of a divorce. People marrying for a second or third time also might desire to make sure that certain assets or personal belongings are passed on to the children or grandchildren of prior marriages rather than to a current spouse.
A word of warning! There are many prenuptial agreement forms and prenuptial agreement samples on the internet. These internet prenuptial sample forms may not be written by Florida family law attorneys (or any attorneys for that matter) and may not adequately protect the legal rights of the engaged couple. If you have assets or income significant enough to believe that a prenuptial agreement is necessary to protect your financial future, you should consult with an experienced Florida prenuptial attorney who will provide you with accurate legal advice on Florida divorce and family laws.
On the other hand, there are times when a prenuptial agreement may not be necessary, but some sound premarital advice from a lawyer could be beneficial to the future spouses. Approximately fifty-five percent of all marriages end in divorce. Marriage is a contract that involves many financial decisions along the way. Our Miami prenuptial law office can help guide you to make sound financial decisions during your marriage contract. Contact us before you tie the knot!
To avoid any potential argument that your future spouse was coerced into signing a prenuptial agreement on the eve of his or her wedding day, you should start the process of negotiating and drafting the prenuptial agreement as soon as you become engaged or, at the latest, one month before the wedding.
Florida Postnuptial Agreements
Postnuptial agreements, also known as postmarital agreements, are agreements entered into after a marriage has taken place, but before the parties seek to end their marriage. As with premarital agreements, most individuals entering into a postnuptial agreement are generally seeking to protect assets or income in the event of divorce or death.
Marriage Settlement Agreements in Florida
Marriage Settlement Agreements (sometimes also called Property Settlement Agreements) are contracts written that resolve by agreement the division of marital assets and marital debts, payment of support, child custody or any additional issues that arise during the course of a divorce proceeding. Before either spouse signs a Marriage Settlement Agreement, the Agreement should be reviewed by their own independent Florida family law attorney. Both spouses should not utilize one Florida family law attorney to draft a Marriage Settlement Agreement and should not presume that one attorney will look out for both spouses' interests.
Validity of Florida Marital Settlement, Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
In Florida, Marriage Settlement Agreements as well as prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are considered the same as any other contract parties may enter into and, therefore, are presumed to be valid and enforceable. This presumption can be overcome only if evidence is presented by the spouse seeking to set aside the agreement that the agreement was not entered into under fraud, deceit, duress, coercion, misrepresentation, or overreaching or that there was not a full and fair disclosure of assets and liabilities of each spouse at the time of the agreement and a waiver of the disclosure was not included in the agreement. Florida has adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act to specifically address issues involving interpretation and enforcement of prenuptial agreements. Spouses and future spouses should be aware that Marriage Settlement, premarital and postnuptial agreements are valid and enforceable even if one spouse or prospective spouse does not retain an attorney to review the agreement before they sign the agreement. Marriage settlement agreement forms retrieved from the internet are only as good and enforceable as the author who wrote them who may or may not be a licensed Florida attorney with experience in the family law field.
Sometimes the question arises of what is the impact on any changes in the Florida laws after a valid Marriage Settlement Agreement, prenuptial agreement, or postnuptial agreement is entered by the parties? The answer is that the agreement is interpreted using the law in existence at the time of drafting the agreement and any subsequent changes are not applicable unless the change in the law is a remedial measure intended to apply retroactively.
Vari & Associates, LLC
The foregoing guide is intended to inform and not advise readers concerning Florida family law topics. The guide was authored by Attorney Lisa Marie Vari of the Miami, FL family law firm of Vari & Associates, LLC.