Prenuptial agreements are not just for wealthy individuals. Many couples use premarital and postmarital agreements for a variety of reasons from protecting premarital assets to setting limits on spousal support after a divorce. Using a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement allows the individuals to make decisions about financial details in the event of a divorce or death instead of allowing a judge to make those decisions.
Approaching a marriage with the expectation that it will end in divorce is not the goal of a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement opens the lines of communication between parties for a frank discussion of finances, which can be a positive step for a couple when beginning a life together. Of course, the other goal is to protect the parties if they should decide to dissolve the marriage in the future.
Hiring an experienced Florida prenuptial agreement attorney can ensure that the agreement is drafted in accordance with the law and tailored to fit your specific objectives and needs.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding marital contract that parties who intend to be married enter before the wedding. A prenuptial agreement does not become effective until the parties are married. A prenuptial agreement allows a couple to decide the details of a divorce in the event the marriage is dissolved. While this may not seem romantic, it does allow individuals to have open, frank conversations about how they would dissolve their marriage while they are not bitter, angry, or hurt because the marriage is ending.
What is a Postnuptial Agreement?
A postnuptial agreement serves the same purpose as a marital agreement signed before marriage, but the postnuptial agreement is signed after the parties are married. Postnuptial agreements are not as common as prenuptial agreements, but they are utilized for many of the same reasons couples enter into premarital agreements.
Requirements of a Marital Agreement
To be valid under Florida law, premarital and postmarital agreements must meet certain criteria including:
- The agreement must be in writing. Oral marital agreements are not enforceable.
- Both parties must voluntarily enter the agreement and sign the agreement. Use of force, coercion, or undue influence can render an agreement unenforceable. Furthermore, an agreement that is overreaching or grossly biased in favor of one party may not withstand court scrutiny.
- The parties should exchange financial information so as to be fully aware of the finances of each party prior to entering into the agreement.
- The agreement must be witnessed and notarized. Having witnesses and a notary helps prevent disputes about forged signatures.
- For a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable, the parties must be married. The agreement does not become effective until after the parties are legally married.
Benefits of a Marital Agreement
Some couples do not want to discuss the end of their marriage before they have even had the wedding. However, a prenuptial agreement has many benefits. Postnuptial agreements can provide the same benefits when entered after marriage.
Some of the benefits of a marital agreement include:
- Protecting premarital assets, including inheritances, estates, and family assets
- Avoid costly litigation in the event of a divorce
- Protection from large-scale debt incurred by the other party
- Protect a family business
- Protection of intellectual property
- Deciding how marital debt will be divided in a divorce
- Protection of retirement plans
- Provide for a child or adult with special needs or with assets being held in trust
- Provide for children from a previous relationship
- Agree upon the terms of alimony
- Agree on terms for the division of marital property
- Limit the rights of a surviving spouse in the event of death
Premartial and Post Martial agreements cannot determine child support or timesharing. The court will not allow parties to decide issues related to a child or future children because the court must consider the best interests of a child when approving a parenting plan and calculating child support.
Palm Beach Gardens Prenuptial Agreements Attorney
If you are considering a premarital or postmarital agreement, contact the Law Offices of Paul J. Burkhart, PL. It is important to seek the counsel and advice of an experienced attorney before entering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Call (561) 880-0155 to learn more about marital agreements from an experienced, skillful, and compassionate Palm Beach Gardens family law attorney.