Purposes of a Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract you and your future spouse may enter before marriage. Prenups allow both parties to document their conditions (or clauses) for the marriage. They can also protect a party’s interests in case of divorce. A prenuptial agreement can have many purposes and be helpful whether or not you and your spouse stay together.

It’s important to consider drafting a prenuptial agreement in the following situations:

  • There is a significant difference in the value of your assets and your partner’s assets
  • Either of you have children from previous relationships
  • You wish to prevent unnecessary disputes in the event of a divorce

Prenuptial agreements can include a number of clauses that address issues during marriage and at the time of divorce.

What’s Decided in a Prenup?

Some common issues addressed in a prenuptial agreement include:

  • Property ownership, including any separate property acquired before marriage
  • How shared marital property will be divided in a divorce
  • Division of debts and liabilities
  • Alimony and spousal support
  • Who will pay for legal fees in various situations (for example, if one spouse commits adultery)
  • How gifts and inheritance will be handled
  • How spouses must handle a divorce situation on social media (also known as a social image clause)
  • Equitable distribution of assets, i.e. business assets

Since your prenuptial agreement is a contract, it’s also important to have clauses about confidentiality, what happens if there is a breach in the terms, and how the contract may be amended at a future date.

Disputes about the matters covered in a prenuptial agreement can be time-consuming and expensive. When you make the decisions up front, you can save yourself a lot of stress later on if you divorce.

Prenup Requirements in Florida

Prenups in Florida must comply with the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. This law provides definitions that can be used when developing a prenuptial agreement and interpretations of certain clauses.

The Uniform Premarital Act Agreement states that a prenup may be used to detail the rights and obligations of the parties to the contract. Specifically, prenuptial agreements typically deal with how property and assets will be handled “upon separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event.”

Can Premarital Agreements Address Spousal Support and Child Support?

Prenups may establish, modify, waive, or eliminate spousal support. However, suppose the premarital agreement modifies or eliminates spousal support and causes a party to be eligible for public assistance due to low income. In that case, the court may order support regardless of the prenup.

However, prenuptial agreements do have limits under the Uniform Premarital Act Agreement. For example, prenups may not adversely affect the right of a child to support.

When Does a Premarital Agreement Become Effective?

A premarital agreement becomes effective upon the marriage of the parties. No matter what date the premarital agreement is signed, it is not active until the date of marriage.

When Is a Prenuptial Agreement Not Enforceable?

According to the Uniform Premarital Act Agreement, a prenup may not be enforced if:

  • It was not executed or signed voluntarily
  • It is the product of fraud, duress, coercion, or overreaching
  • The agreement is unconscionable

An agreement is unconscionable if there was no fair and reasonable disclosure of property or financial information. Both parties must have reasonable knowledge about all property and financial obligations.

What If the Marriage Was Void?

If a marriage is void, then the prenup may only be enforced to the extent that it will prevent an inequitable result regarding the division of property, assets, and other issues.

Prenuptial vs. Postnuptial Agreements

You may have also heard of postnuptial agreements. They are very similar to prenuptial agreements in that they are a type of contract that can detail expectations during a marriage and in the event of a divorce or separation.

However, postnuptial agreements are entered after the marriage has taken place. It’s important to be able to prove that each party is aware of all property, financial information, and assets of the other party. Otherwise, the postnup may be voided.

Florida Prenup FAQs

If you are getting married, you likely have many questions about prenuptial agreements. We have answers:

I don’t think I’ll get divorced. Is a prenup still necessary?

Prenuptial agreements are not required by law, but everyone should consider having one prior to getting married. It can save you time and money by detailing your expectations for the marriage and outlining a process to follow if a spouse dies or you get divorced.

Even if you don’t think you’ll get divorced, a prenup can smoothly address other issues that may arise. For example, prenuptial agreements can provide details about how inheritance, gifts, and other matters are handled during a marriage. It can be helpful to have a document that you and your spouse can refer back to—having a prenup doesn’t mean you think your relationship won’t last. If anything, a prenup can allow for a smoother, more transparent marriage.

Can you include child support/custody terms in a prenup?

While you can establish some baseline information about child support and child custody terms in a prenup, the final decision will be left up to a family law court in Florida. Florida judges will do what is in the child’s best interests instead of following what a prenup says. You cannot waive the child’s right to support through a prenuptial agreement.

What happens if I get divorced without a prenuptial agreement?

If you get divorced without a prenuptial agreement, you will likely spend a lot of time and resources fighting about details like who gets what property and how to divide debts. You will also likely dispute alimony or spousal support and other complicated matters. These issues can be easily handled in a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage when you and your future spouse are on good terms and willing to be reasonable.

Our Sarasota Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Can Help You

Whether you have significant assets or not, you should consider signing a prenuptial agreement while you and your future partner are amicable. You don’t have to solely consider clauses that address divorce. You can also include your expectations during marriage. With the help of a lawyer, your prenup can establish crucial boundaries and best support you during a marriage and possible divorce.

Sarasota prenuptial agreement lawyer Michael Fayard at 941 Law Help is here for you. Call 941-265-2733 to talk with one of our experienced legal professionals. When you contact us, you will get solid legal advice from a prenup lawyer with extensive knowledge of Florida laws.

I worked closely with Mike over a 1-year period and am impressed with not only with his legal skills, but his strong character. He is the type of lawyer I would want fighting for me should a need arise; his court record in his states of licensure speaks for itself." - Mark Simonds