Premarital or Prenuptial Agreements

When contemplating marriage, a premarital agreement is often last on a couple’s list of pre-wedding preparations, or at least it certainly doesn’t come before the guest list, venue, or color scheme.

What many couples may not realize, however, is that potentially anything they enter into a marriage with, or acquire during the marriage, may be subject to division following a divorce. Additionally, premarital agreements can be a useful tool for addressing how matters such as pre-existing businesses or obligations to prior children should be handled, in the event of a divorce or perhaps during death.

Although they may carry a negative stigma, premarital agreements are a high priority among couples entering into a subsequent marriage, with prior children, or entering into a domestic partnership. They can create the opportunity for couples discuss complex obligations, and lead to an open dialogue about finances.

Florida and The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act

Florida recently adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, in the hopes of creating a uniform premarital agreement platform.

Under the UPAA, property subject to the prenup can include almost anything, such as real or personal property, tangible and intangible assets, income or earnings, etc.

In order to be valid, a premarital agreement must be (1) in writing; and (2) signed by both parties. It becomes valid upon the commencement of the marriage. Additionally, the initial premarital agreement can be changed, if the parties so decide, so long as it meets the requirements for premarital agreements in general.

The following are the types of matters that premarital agreements may address:

  • the rights and obligations of each of the parties in any property either of them might own or be entitled to
  • the right to buy or sell, use, or otherwise encumber property--this can include rental properties, commercial properties, etc.
  • what becomes of property upon separation, divorce, death, or the potential (non)occurrence of any other event
  • terms of spousal support, which can include a modification, wavier, or elimination of it entirely
  • the making of a will, trust, or other estate planning document to execute the provisions of the premarital agreement
  • rights regarding potential life insurance benefits, for example some parties may wish to reserve their policy benefits for their pre-marital children or other beneficiaries
  • choice of law regarding the agreement--which means parties may agree to have laws other than those in Florida apply
  • Any other matter, which can include personal rights or obligations, so long as these terms do not violate public policy or invoke criminal penalties

However, it is important to note that child support may NOT be eliminated through use of a premarital agreement. This prohibition is obviously designed to protect minors who are not parties to the agreement.

If you are considering entering into a premarital agreement, you’ll want to meet with an experienced family law attorney in Florida to discuss the potential assets or liabilities you may want to include. Additionally, parties are best advised to have separate and independent counsel. Doing so ensures that each party has his or her best interests represented. Contact our office today to discuss how a premarital agreement could benefit you.

The office of Craig W. Turner is dedicated to providing quality legal representation for Family Law clients of Ocala and throughout Florida. Mr. Turner has over 26 years of experience in these types of matters, offering extensive exposure to the Florida court system and the nuances of various types of Family Law cases.

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