Marriage is an important decision for many different reasons. While thousands of marriages are entered into each year in this country, the divorce rate throughout the United States is alarming to many. When entering a marriage, many people typically choose to protect themselves by signing a premarital agreement, most commonly known as a prenuptial agreement. If you or someone you know is interested in creating a premarital agreement, you will need the assistance of an experienced attorney to draft or review all documents.
The Importance of a Premarital Agreement
Premarital agreements protect your financial assets. It protects assets that are acquired during the marriage, and it also protects the growth of your assets that are acquired before the marriage. It is essential to understand that once two parties are married, each spouse obtains rights to share specific resources, including wages, property, and debts, in the event of a divorce. Premarital agreements allow the parties to alter the respective rights each has.
Typically, prenuptial contracts modify or change the parties' rights concerning:
- Spousal support
- How the growth of any assets obtained before the marriage are divided
- How assets received during the marriage are divided
- How debts acquired during the marriage are divided
THE PRENUP CANNOT INCLUDE:
- Child support
- Child custody
- Expectations of the parties (wife will clean house once a week, the husband will buy a gift for his wife once a month, the wife will maintain her current weight, etc.)
Challenging a Premarital Agreement
In most cases, a premarital agreement is a binding agreement between the parties. After separation, many individuals seek to challenge these agreements. There are a few ways to challenge a premarital agreement, which is dependent on the ability to prove that the agreement was not validly entered into. The party who seeks to challenge the prenuptial agreement can show that the agreement is not valid in many ways. For example, they can claim that the agreement was not voluntary. Another potential claim is that the other party did not provide fair and reasonable financial disclosure or that the agreement was entered into while fraud, duress, or coercion was present.
Challenging premarital agreements is complicated in Florida Courts. The courts typically enforce these contracts, finding that individuals only seek to challenge the agreement for their benefit after the fact. When you are considering challenging these contracts, you need an experienced attorney who has a thorough understanding of the law's narrow exceptions.
Modifying a Premarital Agreement
Once a premarital agreement is entered into, there are limited ways to modify the agreement. Florida courts require that any changes desired are put in writing, and the parties sign the agreement. This protects the individuals by ensuring that the intentions of the parties are indicated. One crucial difference between the original premarital agreement and modification is that modifications do not require consideration in exchange for the agreement.
If you have questions about creating a prenuptial agreement that will be enforceable, we invite you to contact us to schedule a consultation with an experienced Jacksonville divorce lawyer. At Florida Divorce Law Group, we practice family law throughout Florida, and we have consultation offices in Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and Miami. We also have Zoom video meetings available, and of course phone consultations.