Although prenuptial agreements are incredibly important, only a small percentage of couples who are either already married or plan to get married have a prenuptial agreement in place. That being said, many attorneys have seen an increase in the request for prenuptial agreements.
Though most people will tell you that they understand what a prenup should and should not do, only a small percent are actually aware of all the nuances of a strong and legally valid premarital agreement. For instance, the top three reasons that a prenup is put in place is to protect property and to allow for (or disallow for) spousal maintenance. However, prenups can do much more than that, or much less, depending on the agreement’s wording. That said, if you want your Florida prenup to be effective, you need to understand the stipulations put in place by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA).
What a Prenup Can Protect
A prenuptial agreement can do quite a lot to mitigate property division disputes in divorce. For instance, a prenuptial agreement can protect the rights and obligations of both parties concerning property. For instance, if a spouse owned a house prior to marriage, the prenuptial agreement can include a provision that states that all costs associated with the property are the sole responsibility of the owner. On the same token, a prenup can protect the original owner’s right to ownership post-divorce. However, the prenup may grant the other party access to the property at certain times. For instance, if one person owned a beach house prior to marriage, he or she may grant the other party the right to use it during the summer after divorce.
A prenup can detail what is to become of one party’s property should the marriage end because of separation, death, or another event. For instance, the agreement may state that if one spouse cheats on the other, the cheating spouse owes the other spouse a certain amount of money to help with the transition from married to single life.
A premarital contract may also outline in which jurisdiction all divorce proceedings will take place, and which jurisdiction’s laws will be used to interpret the document.
Finally, a prenup can outline each party’s roles and responsibility throughout the marriage. It may include a section regarding where the couple will live, how they will raise their children, and when, how, and with what money each party will be allowed to pursue an education.
What a Prenup Cannot Do
If a prenuptial agreement includes any provisions that violate the law or public policy, it is automatically deemed invalid. Criminal provisions aside, there are some things that a Florida prenuptial agreement cannot do.
First and foremost, a prenuptial agreement cannot waive child support, and nor can it set an amount for child support. Child support amounts are determined by the courts only with the help of set guidelines. Though a Florida prenup can waive the right to spousal support, the courts may not honor the provision if it means that one or more of the following apply:
- The spouse who waived his or her right to support becomes a dependent of the state;
- The spouse who waived his or her right to support is provided a standard of living far below that which he or she became accustomed to in marriage;
- The spouse who waived his or her right to suppose did so under duress or fraud; and/or
- All of the above.
A Florida prenup must be fair, conscionable, and in writing in order for it to be valid. To learn more about what makes a valid prenup in Florida, review Florida Statutes 61.079.
Discuss Your Prenuptial Agreement With a Boca Raton Divorce Lawyer
Florida law states that both parties of a prenup must be represented by their own attorneys in order for the final prenuptial agreement to be considered valid. To draft a sound, legally binding, and fair prenuptial agreement, call the Boca Raton prenuptial and postnuptial attorneys at the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg, P.A. today.