A prenuptial agreement is an agreement between two people that deals with the financial consequences of their marriage ending, both in terms of a potential divorce and in terms of their death.
A prenuptial agreement should be considered by every couple (regardless of income level) before they walk down the aisle and say: “I do”. Many people in today’s society are not particularly happy about the way the divorce law works and may impact upon the termination of their marriage. These people prefer to take control in their lives rather than leave it in the hands of the government.
Creating a Florida prenuptial agreement may be particularly important in the following situations:
- You earn more money than your spouse-to-be or you are much wealthier than your spouse-to-be. A prenuptial agreement can be used in many states to limit the amount of alimony that is payable to a spouse and can ensure that your partner is marrying you for you and not for your money;
- You’ve been married before. Statistics clearly indicate that the rate of divorce is much higher for couples who are getting married for a second or third time. When you remarry, your financial and legal concerns and situations are often very different than during your first marriage. You may have children from a previous marriage, child support or alimony obligations. You may own a home, have retirement accounts, or own other significant assets. A prenuptial agreement can ensure that when you pass away, or are divorced, your assets are distributed according to your wishes, and that neither your first family nor your new family are cut off;
- Control of your future. If you can help it, you do not want your future to be controlled by the courts if you commence a divorce. Family court judges do their best to create appropriate results for the parties before them. However, they are strangers to your circumstances and strangers to your marriage. You may win, you may lose, but there’s a lot of uncertainty as to what result you may receive. Take the time to map out a plan that is fair and appropriate for both of you while you both are looking out for each other’s best interests;
- It is less expensive and less emotionally taxing than a divorce case. Divorces, even amongst average people, can be very long. The more lengthy the divorce process, the more expensive it will become. Other than possibly timesharing (child custody/visitation), money is the biggest reason for the continued battles. If you have your money situation spelled out and resolved before the marriage, the divorce proceedings are likely to go much faster, cost less money, and be far less emotionally exhausting;
- If you own a business. Without a prenuptial agreement, when your marriage ends, your spouse could end up owning a share of your business. Your business partners may not want this to happen. A prenuptial agreement can ensure that your spouse does not become an unwanted partner in your business or that you pay an exorbitant amount to buy him or her out of your business.
- Your partner-to-be has a large amount of debt structure. If you are marrying someone with a significant debt structure, and you don’t want to be responsible for their debts if your marriage ends, then a prenuptial agreement can help ensure that this does not happen. At the same juncture, if your spouse-to-be is someone who is likely to rack up a huge credit card debt, then a prenuptial agreement lets your creditors know at the time of your divorce that the spouse who racked up the bill in the first place is the one who will be responsible for paying it after the divorce;
- Future alimony: Many couples who choose to have children to have one person stay at home and raise the child or children. While understandable, this creates two potential problems:
- The person who remains working must be able to support the family on one income. However, the person staying at home is giving up future income. If this couple gets divorced the negotiations regarding alimony will cause increased conflict between these two positions: “you chose to stay at home because you didn’t want to work” versus “I gave up my career, so I could raise our child”. If this topic were addressed in a prenuptial agreement, the specter of alimony should not need to be addressed and this argument will be rendered moot. Your partner is much richer than you are. Quitting your job will negatively impact your income and your wealth. You need a prenuptial agreement to ensure that the financial burden of raising the children is fairly shared by both parents.
- You are much poorer than your partner. Just as a prenuptial agreement can be used to protect a spouse who is well off, a prenup can also be used to ensure that the partner who is in a weaker financial position is protected.
Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding divorce while delivering excellent personal service. To discuss divorce in Florida, please contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A.The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. or call 561-478-0312.