Making a contract with a fiancé or spouse might seem too businesslike for a romantic relationship. However, marriage is a financial and legal relationship, as well as an emotional one. Sometimes it makes sense to approach issues in a businesslike manner.
A West Miami marital agreement lawyer can provide advice on when a contract between fiancés or spouses could be helpful and determine what your contract should cover. If you already have an agreement, an experienced family attorney can review it to confirm it meets the legal requirements and that you understand its terms.
The Benefit of Marriage Agreements
Because marriage is a legal relationship, laws control many of its financial aspects. For example, the law considers all the property either spouse acquires during their marriage to be owned by both, even if only one spouse paid for it, or it is registered or titled in only one spouse’s name. The law exempts inheritances and gifts from marital property but even these could be marital property in some circumstances.
Every couple’s situation is unique but the law is one-size-fits-all. A different arrangement than the law calls for might be more fair or desirable in a specific couple’s case. A West Miami attorney can speak with a couple about their intentions and draft a marital contract that formalizes their decisions.
Marital agreements allow the couple to decide what works for them, regardless of what the law says. If a spouse tries to enforce a marriage agreement, a Judge will review it. If the agreement meets all the legal requirements and is not shockingly unfair under the circumstances, a Judge will enforce it.
Types of Marriage Agreements
A couple could enter a marriage agreement before they get married, during the marriage, or when they end their marriage. Some legal requirements apply to every marriage agreement, regardless of when the couple entered it.
All contracts must be in writing and signed by both parties. Each party must also have a reasonable time to seek legal advice from their own attorney regarding the agreement. The agreement does not need to treat each party equally but each must receive something in return for giving up any rights they would otherwise have.
Florida Statutes § 61.079 governs prenuptial agreements, which effect when they marry. The law allows a couple to decide before marriage whether to exclude property from the marital property calculation. The couple could waive alimony in a prenuptial agreement, although a court might not enforce that provision if the lack of alimony would mean one spouse qualifies for public assistance.
A couple could address multiple other topics in a prenuptial agreement, although any provisions regarding child custody or support are not enforceable. A West Miami attorney can advise a couple about provisions they might wish to include in this type of marital agreement.
A couple could enter a postnuptial agreement any time after they marry and might use it to revoke or modify their prenuptial agreement. Whether a couple has a prenup or not, a postnup could establish how they manage unanticipated situations such as a disabled family member, liability in a lawsuit, or a sudden change in finances like winning the lottery. Some couples use these agreements to set expectations or ground rules when one partner is financially irresponsible or has committed marital misconduct.
Marital Settlement Agreement
When a marriage ends, the partners must divide their marital property, establish appropriate child support, and determine whether one spouse receives alimony. They also must prepare a parenting plan that details their time-sharing agreement and explains how they will share decision-making responsibility. A marital settlement agreement could incorporate the spouses’ agreement on these issues, saving substantial time, money, and stress.
A West Miami attorney could assist a spouse or couple in this marital agreement. Once both parties agree, they could file the petition for divorce and submit it to the court.
Contact a West Miami Marital Agreement Attorney Today
Marital contracts are the best way for you to maintain control over your financial life during their marriage – and afterward if the marriage does not endure. A West Miami marital agreement lawyer can explain how they might help each spouse achieve their goals.
Every couple should understand the benefits of these agreements. Call for a free consultation today to discuss your goals with The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm.