Not every couple stays married forever, despite their best intentions. Many couples sign a prenuptial agreement before they are married, which could protect future earnings and assets. When couples decide to split up, a prenuptial agreement (prenup) can be extremely beneficial to both parties. An experienced marital agreements attorney can make sure a Judge follows the terms of a valid prenup, saving both parties the time, stress, expense, and uncertainty of property division negotiations. Because these negotiations are complex, it may be best for you to have the advice of a Fort Lauderdale prenuptial agreements lawyer.
Who Needs a Prenup?
Prenups benefit a variety of couples. Spouses who have children from other relationships should consider a prenup to protect their children’s inheritance and property rights. The help of an attorney is critical in these cases to ensure the prenup reflects the couple’s agreement about their children’s rights.
When one or both spouses own a home, a business, or significant assets before they are married, a prenup allows each spouse to designate certain property as their own. Having a prenup means they can each keep their property for themselves and not divide it with their partner if the marriage ends.
Young couples without children or who do not own property should also consider a prenuptial agreement. An honest discussion of financial matters before marriage can help a couple set meaningful goals and appropriate expectations. A prenuptial agreements lawyer in Fort Lauderdale can help a couple decide if a prenup is right for them.
Prenups Identify Assets and How They Are Divided
When a Florida couple divorces without a property agreement, a Judge must divide their property according to equitable distribution principles. Equitable distribution means the Judge will divide the marital property in the way that seems most fair under the circumstances. The division does not have to be a 50/50 split.
Marital property includes anything either spouse acquired during the marriage, regardless of who paid for it or whose name is on the title. Personal property is anything either spouse owned before the marriage. However, if marital funds contributed to the maintenance of personal property or if the property increased in value during the marriage, the other spouse could claim an interest in the other spouse’s separate property.
Property division negotiations can become contentious and bitter, lengthening the divorce process and increasing expenses. A prenuptial agreement can identify certain property as belonging to one spouse and bar the other spouse from an interest in it. A prenup can also direct how the couple will divide the value of their property—for example, they could agree to a 60/40 split rather than relying on a Judge to figure out what is fair.
Legal Requirements for Prenuptial Agreements
Florida Statute § 61.079 governs prenups, which the law calls premarital agreements. Prenups are enforceable if they comply with the terms of the law, which means they must be in writing and signed by both parties. The couple signs a prenup before the marriage, but it does not take effect until the marriage becomes official.
Each spouse must reveal all their assets and debts before the other signs the prenup. If one spouse does not make a complete and honest disclosure, the other spouse could challenge the prenup.
Prenups often favor one spouse over the other and it will not be invalidated just because one spouse made the bad decision to sign it. However, a Judge can set aside a prenup if it is extremely unfair or would leave one spouse unreasonably impoverished. A couple could eliminate some of the common grounds for invalidating an agreement by each having their own lawyer in Fort Lauderdale review the prenup and explain its terms before they sign.
Consult a Fort Lauderdale Attorney About the Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement Today
Engaged couples are often busy planning their wedding and preparing for their life together. Making time to consider the financial aspects of your marriage might not be exciting but it is important.