Getting married is a big event for everyone. But alongside proclaiming your devotion and love for each other, getting married also means joining your finances and property together… unless you get a “prenup” or prenuptial agreement. It can be tough to know what a Florida prenuptial agreement entails and when it’s a good idea. Let’s take a closer look at prenups, the pros and cons of a Florida prenuptial agreement and break down everything you need to know.
Florida Prenuptial Agreements Explained
A prenuptial agreement (also called a “premarital agreement” or “antenuptial agreement”) in Florida is a contract between fiancés or prospective spouses. A prenuptial agreement decides how various financial and property-related issues, like alimony and property division, will be theoretically treated in the event of a divorce.
Think of a prenup as an outline of the property and financial arrangements a couple will follow if they get divorced in the future. A prenuptial agreement does not mean a couple has to get divorced; it’s a hedge against the unfortunate event that a divorce occurs.
To-be-married couples sometimes get Florida prenuptial agreements so that, if they get divorced, they don’t have to go through as much difficulty dividing property or deciding how finances will be split up/awarded after getting divorced.
Couples may also get prenups in order to protect their private property – for example, a male fiancé may wish to keep ownership of his prize vehicle even if he gets a divorce. Without a prenup, his ex-wife may receive the vehicle depending on what the judge decides.
What Does a Prenuptial Agreement Cover?
Prenuptial agreements can cover a wide variety of issues depending on the length and complexity of a document. In fact, Florida couples can use prenuptial contracts to enter into just about any agreements so long as they don’t violate public policies or laws.
Most Florida couples use prenuptial agreements to come to arrangements for the following issues:
- Property division post-divorce or in the event of another marriage-ending event, like a death
- The control or management of property during the marriage (i.e., who’s in charge of certain property)
- Whether one spouse or another spouse will be required to pay alimony in the event of a separation or divorce, including the alimony amount and the duration of alimony payments
- Matters concerning retirement plans or pensions for each spouse
- Life insurance policy decisions
- Whether spouses are required to write out wills to carry out the prenup agreement terms
- Which state laws will be used to interpret the prenuptial agreement (if needed)
Because prenuptial agreements can cover so much legal territory, it’s wise to get knowledgeable Tampa family law lawyers to look over your documents and make sure there aren’t any legal loopholes.
When Is it Wise to Get a Prenuptial Agreement?
There are many circumstances where a prenuptial agreement can be a wise decision for prospective spouses. It’s not just a tool for wealthy individuals to protect assets if they get divorced. Prenuptial agreements can be wise for couples who:
- Both separately own various assets prior to marriage that they want to keep or protect from division if they get divorced
- Have children from a previous relationship and want to protect the inheritance of those children
- Have any business interests they want to keep separate from the spouse of the marriage fails
- Want to determine whether one spouse will pay alimony during a separation or divorce ahead of time to cut down on divorce proceedings and costly discussions
Do Florida Prenuptial Agreements Affect Child Custody/Child Support?
No. In Florida, prenuptial agreements do not affect child custody or child support. In the event that a couple gets divorced, divorce courts will calculate child support needs when the parents separated based on current abilities to pay, obligations, child needs, and other factors.
That’s because child support and child custody are considered to be the rights of children, not the rights of the parents. Depending on the financial and other circumstances of the divorcing couple, judges may decide matters such as who has primary child custody, which parent needs to pay child support and how much, etc.
Read more in our blog: Fathers’ Parental (Custody) Rights: How to Prepare & Negotiate in Tampa, Florida
When Is a Florida Prenuptial Agreement Enforceable?
Florida adopted the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act or UPAA in 2007. This legislation breaks down when and where prenuptial agreements are enforceable.
For a Florida prenuptial agreement to be enforceable:
- It must be in writing
- It must be signed by both spouses
In contrast, a Florida prenup is not enforceable if one or both spouses can prove:
- That at least one of the spouses did not sign the agreement voluntarily
- The agreement was only signed because of coercion, fraud, duress, or other negative factors
- The prenup agreement was unconscionable or illegally unfair when it was signed. To prove this, the spouse challenging the agreement must prove that they weren’t given a fair or reasonable disclosure of the financial circumstances of their spouse, that the agreement did not waive the spouse’s right to receive disclosure of their spouse’s assets and debts, and/or they did not or could not reasonably have had knowledge of the other spouse’s financial circumstances
This can be difficult even in the best of cases. Experienced Florida family law lawyers can help challenging spouses contest prenuptial agreements and prove that they were signed under illegal means or that there are other problems with the document.
Contact Tampa Family Law Lawyers Today
Getting a Florida prenuptial agreement could be a very wise idea depending on the circumstances of your marriage and what you want to cover against the possibility of divorce.
But getting any prenup isn’t enough. You need to make sure your prenuptial agreement is written smartly to close any potential legal loopholes and ensure that it accurately protects your interests.
Tampa family law lawyers like Hunter Law can assist with this and much more. Our knowledgeable lawyers can explain the benefits of getting a prenup and help you draft prenup papers that will protect your property for years to come. Contact us today.