Many couples view prenuptial agreements as outlines for divorce, a view that deters them from drafting one. However, while it is true that a prenuptial can serve as a guide for what to do in the event of divorce, it can also help to establish expectations for a healthy marriage. In the event that a divorce does occur, a prenuptial can prevent surprises and ensure that the whole divorce process goes smoothly.
At the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg, P.A., we encourage Boca Raton residents to create and sign prenuptial agreements before saying “I do,” as we believe that they can pave the way for healthy marriages in which communication and trust are valued. That said, if you want a prenup to work for you, there are a few issues that your prenuptial should address, which we explain briefly in this post.
Property: What is Yours, Mine, or Ours?
If either you or your fiancé has property of your own that you want to protect such as a large amount of savings, a home, or antique fine art, a prenup can help. People acquire a lot of stuff over the course of a marriage, and after a while, what becomes “mine” suddenly becomes “ours,” and it can be difficult to trace back what was originally separate property. If you want to prevent what was once “mine” from becoming “yours” in a divorce, use a premarital agreement to identify separate property before you begin acquiring joint property.
Additionally, prenups can be used to waive spousal support and death benefits, the latter of which is popular for older individuals who are on their second marriage and who have grown children from a previous marriage.
Protection: Planning for the Future
Most people who have been married before understand the importance of a prenup, which is why we see so many older adults who are on their second or third marriage asking to have a prenuptial drafted. While older individuals have more assets to protect, they also have grown children and a looming future to think about. It is not uncommon for an older individual to want to ensure that his or her children from a prior marriage are protected if something should happen to them, while at the same time wanting to protect the ability of the spouse with the lesser assets to go into a nursing home.
Validity: Is Your Agreement Legally “Fair”?
Many states have a different idea of what is “fair” and “valid” when it comes to premarital agreements. In order for your prenuptial agreement to be considered valid by Florida courts, the agreement must have been drafted by both parties and signed voluntarily; not be a product of fraud, coercion, duress, or overreaching; and must not be “unconscionable.” An unconscionable premarital agreement in Florida is one that was executed and, before the execution of the agreement, one party:
- Did not provide a fair disclosure of all of his or her property and financial obligations to the other party;
- The other party did not voluntarily waive, in writing, the right to disclosure of all property or financial obligations of the other party; and
- Did not possess, or count not have been expected to possess, an adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party.
Additionally, in order to be deemed “fair,” a Florida premarital agreement cannot contain any provision that modifies or eliminates spousal or child support.
Work With a Skilled Prenuptial Agreements Lawyer
If you and your spouse want to create a prenup that helps to establish communication and trust, and that, in the event of divorce, prevents surprises, work with an experienced Boca Raton prenuptial agreements lawyer. If you are already married but feel as if an agreement is in order, you can still draft a postnuptial agreement, which is a bit trickier to do but which can still help. To get started with your prenup or postnuptial agreement today, reach out to the team at the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg, P.A., via phone or our online contact form.