When you get married, you hope it will last forever. But if you are realistic, you understand that unexpected things can happen. Preparing for any eventuality makes good sense.
A prenuptial agreement is a way for couples to think about their financial life together, before they get married. The more complicated their individual financial lives are, the more useful a prenuptial agreement could be.
Prenuptial agreements are contracts, and under the law, they cannot be modified after they are signed. Each party should have their own marital agreements attorney work with them on a prenuptial agreement. A Boca Raton prenuptial agreements lawyer could help you craft a customized contract that offers protection and peace of mind.
Purpose of a Prenuptial Agreement
Prenups take a lot of the financial risk out of marriage. If a couple later divorces and they have a valid prenuptial agreement, courts will honor their wishes as expressed in the agreement, even if the agreement seems unfair.
In Boca Raton, any assets a person brings into their marriage are theirs alone. Anything the couple acquires while married is a marital asset that belongs to both spouses equally. Gifts and inheritances, on the other hand, generally belong to the individual, not the couple. If a couple wants to change that formula, they need a premarital agreement.
These agreements are especially important if one or both partners has children, significant assets, significant debts, or a complex financial life. The agreement could cover issues like who is responsible for paying individual debts, whether the spouses can dispose of property without the other’s consent, how life insurance proceeds are distributed, and similar issues. They could ensure that children of a prior marriage inherit certain assets rather than the current spouse. Premarital agreements could also discuss how to divide property in a divorce and whether a spouse may receive alimony.
Enforcing Prenuptial Agreements
Florida Statute § 61.079 describes the requirements and enforceability of prenuptial agreements. For an agreement to be valid, it must be in writing, and both parties must sign it. Contracts require consideration, or an exchange of something of value in return for the agreement. In a prenuptial agreement, the marriage is the consideration, and the contract takes effect when the couple marries.
Courts will enforce prenuptial agreements even if they are unfair. Unless one spouse asserts otherwise and offers proof, courts assume that both parties made the agreement freely and with an understanding of its contents. A court will invalidate a prenuptial agreement upon proof that:
- One spouse did not enter the agreement voluntarily
- One spouse used coercion, fraud, or duress to influence the other to sign the contract
- One spouse had no knowledge of the extent of the other’s assets or debts because they intentionally hid them
Absent proof that the agreement was entered into unwilfully or without proper knowledge, courts will enforce these agreements. However, if one spouse gave up a right to alimony, and as a result would require public assistance after the divorce, a judge could invalidate that portion of the agreement and require payment of spousal support.
A prenuptial agreement lawyer who serves Boca Raton could ensure that a contract is fair and enforceable.
Challenges of Drafting Prenups
Even if a couple’s finances are straightforward when they marry, it might not always be that way. A Boca Raton attorney needs to draft a prenuptial agreement that protects both parties as intended but remains fair as the couple’s situations change.
For example, if both parties have successful careers and intend to continue to work after marriage, they might agree that neither will pay spousal support if they divorce. But if one party suffers an injury and can no longer work, that provision becomes unfair. An agreement that says there will be no spousal support if both partners remain capable of supporting themselves would offer a more just result.
Work With a Boca Raton Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Today
Developing a prenuptial agreement that is fair to both parties is beneficial in many cases. It gives the couple a chance to talk through complex aspects of their financial lives before marriage and ensures they are on the same page.
A Boca Raton prenuptial agreement lawyer could ensure that your contract accurately reflects the decisions you and your fiancé have made and that no grounds exist to invalidate it. Contact our firm to schedule a consultation to discuss these important issues with a knowledgeable advocate.