While it might seem unromantic, drafting a prenuptial agreement can be one of the most thoughtful and helpful exercises an engaged couple can complete before their wedding. A pre-marital contract allows intended spouses to plan for their future and can help lessen the conflict between them in the event of a divorce.
Prenups define the rules that will govern a couple’s income, debts, assets, and property if they divorce. Without this type of contract, spouses in Palm Beach County could walk away from a future divorce unsatisfied with the outcome. If you want to discuss ways to protect yourself against an unfair divorce early on in your relationship, a West Palm Beach prenuptial agreements lawyer could help.
Requirements for a Prenuptial Contract in Palm Beach County
A prenuptial agreement is a binding legal contract that must be voluntarily signed by both parties and notarized. If a couple signs a prenup before their wedding and they do not go through with the marriage, the agreement is not enforceable. A prenuptial agreements attorney in Palm Beach County could help a couple create a fair contract and ensure that it is appropriately executed.
What Can a Prenup Do?
Under Florida’s Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, intended spouses may address any of the following issues in a prenup:
- Property owned by either or both of the spouses, and the right to buy, sell, use, transfer, mortgage, or otherwise manage that property
- Division of property upon separation, divorce, or death
- The establishment, modification, or waiver of spousal support
- The making of a will or trust to carry out the provisions of the prenup
- Ownership rights in and distribution of life insurance death benefits
A couple may also address custody (timesharing/visitation) and child support in their agreement. However, the court is not required to follow these components of the agreement. If a court determines that the prenup’s terms are not in a child’s best interests at the time of divorce or adversely affect the right to child support, it may disregard the terms. A Palm Beach County court could also invalidate any alimony provision in the prenup that causes a spouse to need public assistance or prevents the spouse of obtaining temporary alimony or temporary attorney’s fees.
Challenging a Pre-marital Agreement
If a couple has a prenup and eventually decide to divorce, either spouse could challenge the agreement’s validity. Under Florida Statutes §61.079, a pre-marital agreement might not be enforceable if:
- The parties did not sign the agreement voluntarily
- The agreement was the result of fraud, duress, or coercion of either party
- The contract was unconscionable when it was signed, meaning it heavily favored one party over the other
- The parties did not provide each other with full financial disclosure of their assets and liabilities before negotiating the agreement
A West Palm Beach prenuptial contracts attorney could ensure that a proper disclosure was made, and that the client had adequate time to review and consider the agreement before signing it, and that the client understands all the terms of the agreement.
When Could a Prenup be Useful?
There are certain circumstances in which a prenup can be an effective tool in clarifying a couple’s rights and responsibilities if their marriage ends in divorce. Some of these include:
- There is a substantial difference in the parties’ incomes
- One party accumulated substantial debt before the marriage
- A party stands to inherit a sizeable amount
- Either party has significant pre-marital assets
Anyone considering a prenup could seek legal advice from a local attorney regarding their rights and obligations under the agreement.
A Palm Beach County Attorney Could Help You Draft a Prenuptial Agreement
You could attempt to draft a prenup on your own, but the risks of doing so are significant. All the time and effort you spent negotiating and agreeing to certain terms prior to your marriage could be wasted if the prenup is declared invalid by a Palm Beach County court.
Our firm’s attorneys have extensive experience drafting and evaluating pre-marital contracts and could ensure that your goals are met if you and your spouse do eventually divorce. Whether you need assistance drafting a prenup or interpreting an existing one, a West Palm Beach prenuptial agreement lawyer can offer valuable guidance. Call our firm today to schedule a consultation.