Do I Need A Prenup? – The Rundown
It’s the holiday season! Meaning there will be multiple gatherings, plenty of family time, and of course engagements. If you recently got engaged then congratulations! Now it’s time to plan: location, attire, flowers, food and not to mention what comes after. Are you planning on buying a home, car, furniture, etc.? Are you getting a joint credit card? As you start to think about this next phase in your life, there is another important decision you must consider: a prenup, or in legal terms…a prenuptial agreement.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement, commonly called a “prenup”, is an agreement a couple signs before getting married that determines how assets, alimony, and other issues are divided if they get a divorce. A prenup can discuss terms of spousal support and alimony payments which is important because you would hate the court to have to get involved. Prior to signing a prenup agreement, it is important to make sure that it has been carefully drafted and protects both you and your spouse’s best interests. This is especially true if the money and property at stake are significant. But no matter how little or how many assets a couple has, a prenuptial agreement is recommended for all couples.
Why Should you get a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement isn’t only beneficial to or used by the extremely wealthy, rather it can also benefit those that have gone through a previous divorce, have children, own a business, or are in debt. Deciding on a prenup does not mean that you and your spouse will be heading towards a divorce, rather it is a realistic and responsible thing to do. During the process of preparing a prenuptial agreement, finances will be discussed and will help prepare the couple to understand each other’s financial habits. Finances are very important and it is a smart decision to discuss them in the early stages of marriage since money is one of the top contributing factors in divorces. In the case of a divorce, prenuptial agreements will save couples a lot of money and time.
What can’t a Prenup do?
There are some issues that couples cannot negotiate in a prenup. A Florida prenup cannot determine child custody rights or child support payments. Under Florida law, child custody and support will always be determined based on the best interest of the child and not according to the best interests of the parents. Because several factors go into determining what will be in the best interest of the child, custody and support orders are subject to change. Accordingly, couples cannot predetermine custody issues. Therefore, if one spouse waives child support payment or if the couple comes up with a parenting plan to split custody, neither of these provisions will be enforced.
A prenuptial agreement can also be found invalid if you choose to leave out financial information during the disclosure period. Hiding assets or in simple terms, choosing not to disclose everything you have does not protect you in the future. It is always best to listen to the advice of your attorney and disclose all assets you have while having the prenuptial agreement negotiated.
Generally, a Florida court will enforce a prenuptial agreement. However, prenup agreements may be challenged. A spouse can waive rights to alimony or marital property so long as the spouse did so voluntarily and with full disclosure. But a spouse may ask a court to set aside a prenup if it was improperly executed or is otherwise invalid due to fraud or coercion.
These reasons are why it is important to consult with a Florida Family and Estate Planning Attorney when drafting and executing a prenup agreement. The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm has a team of experienced Probate and Family attorneys located in Coral Gables, Florida. As attorneys who focus on Family Law matters, we understand the emotional aspects of divorce. With our knowledge, we could help advise you in drafting a prenup that will protect your interests and save you the stress and costs of litigating issues such as property distribution in the case of a divorce. If you and your prospective spouse are considering entering into a prenup, contact us to set up an appointment to evaluate your options. We serve the entire state of Florida so call us at 305-677-5119.