A Prenuptial or Premarital Agreement is a written contract created by two
individuals who plan to be married. While you may have the best hopes
for your future, it is not a bad idea to consider protecting your assets.
The cost and time of preparing a premarital agreement is substantially
far less than that of divorce litigation. Remember, just because you are
prepared for the worst does not mean the worst will happen.
Couples often enter prenuptial agreements for a myriad of reasons. In Florida,
the prenuptial agreement can include just about everything: financial
protection, division of property, division of other assets, and even the
The steps to create a valid prenup are pretty simple.
Hire an Attorney
Both sides need to hire their own attorney and obtain independent legal advice.
The Florida Statutes dictate specific requirements needed for there to
be a valid prenup. For instance, a verbal agreement will not suffice.
The prenup must be in writing and signed by both parties.
You MUST Provide Full Financial Disclosure
There must be full disclosure. Financial conditions often become a point
of contention during a marriage. By providing complete and accurate financial
before exchanging vows, you have an opportunity to develop a mutual understanding
early on in your relationship. During the course of a marriage, it will
become increasingly difficult to distinguish which spouse brought what
into the marriage. Having a valid prenuptial agreement will assist in
clearly delineating a division of assets between the spouses.
Effectiveness of the Agreement
The prenup goes into effect when the couple gets married. If a couple signs
a prenup, but for some reason decide to not get married, there is no valid
Allow Yourself Plenty of Time to Prepare the Prenuptial Agreement
You and your future spouse need plenty of time to review the contract.
I would suggest preparing the prenuptial agreement before entering into
detailed wedding plans or at least having the prenup done 30 days before
the wedding ceremony. Consider this: You have worked for months and months
planning the perfect fairy tale wedding, the honeymoon is planned and
paid for, and Facebook/Twitter friends have expressed their well wishes.
Then, a few days before the ceremony, your future spouse approaches you
and says, “Oh, by the way, there is one more
tiny little thing we need to do before the wedding…”
Do. Not. Do. That!
What a Prenuptial Agreement Can Do
Alimony – In Florida, a prenuptial agreement can define, limit or a spouse
may even waive their alimony rights.
Separate – A prenup agreement can ensure that an individual retains their
Property – A prenup can protect property in case of a divorce or death.
Protection – A prenup can limit your liability for your other spouse’s
debts. For couples with student loans, this is an option you should heavily consider.
Inheritances – A prenuptial agreement can ensure that your children inherit their
rightful share of your property.
Prenuptial Agreement Cannot Do
Orders – In Florida, the right of a child to receive support may not be
adversely affected by a prenup agreement.
Rules – A prenup should not be the tool used by either spouse to impose
rules about behavior (for instance, how children will be raised).
It is very important that prenuptial agreements be drafted and executed
properly. Poorly prepared agreements are susceptible to costly court challenges.
Ideally, a prenuptial agreement is created to
avoid a costly court battle. Hopefully after signing a prenuptial agreement,
you can place it in a safe and it will never rear its ugly head again.
If you have questions or concerns about entering into a prenuptial agreement,
call Longwell Lawyers at 407-426-5757.