Prenuptial agreements are more common than you think. In addition to protecting the wealthy, these premarital agreements can protect your assets from a prior marriage or allow you to pass family property or businesses to your children directly instead of the spouse. To enforce a prenup, you must understand how to create one and what happens if you don’t have one. Here you’ll learn the basics about these legal contracts.
What Is It?
A prenuptial agreement is a contract that is signed between two people before they are married to each other. In fairy tales and romance novels, the chivalrous millionaire never requires his bride to sign this type of contract lest the proposal seems loveless. Of course, real life is different. Nowadays, a prenuptial agreement is widely accepted, and wealthy people aren’t the only ones who take advantage of it.
Whether you’re getting married for the first or fifth time, there are good reasons to establish certain financial rights before you embark upon a lifetime of happiness with your new spouse. Requesting or signing a prenup doesn’t mean you don’t love your spouse, but it does mean that you’re taking your financial obligations seriously.
Who Needs It?
If you have children from a prior marriage, you may want to pass certain assets directly to them. If you die, maybe you’ll want your children to inherit the family home or business instead of your new spouse. But even without children, a legal contract can help you spell out the financial rights and responsibilities in case the marriage dissolves. Prenuptial agreements are useful in protecting you from debts your spouse occurred. You can even decide to waive the right to receive alimony after a divorce.
How to Create One
A prenuptial agreement is a complicated contract. As such, it’s best to have an experienced lawyer help you draft it or at least review the one you have created. Generally, Florida allows prenuptial agreements as long as they’re valid and legal.
Before you meet with a lawyer, it’s best to think about which items you’re concerned with. You will be required to disclose your financial assets to your spouse-to-be before the contract can be signed. It’s up to you to decide which of your assets you want excluded from marital property and what other stipulations you’d like to make. Those assets can include businesses, real estate, intellectual rights, and more.
How to Ensure Your Prenup Is Legal
Florida state law allows prenuptial agreements with a few stipulations. For example, if one of the spouses waives the right to alimony, you can expect the contract to be scrutinized in depth during a divorce. If you want to enforce this rule, it’s important that both spouses had adequate legal presentation before signing the agreement. Additionally, if waiving alimony would make the spouse without money eligible for public assistance, that part of the contract will be set aside.
If you want to make sure that your prenuptial agreement is valid and enforceable, we recommend having our experienced lawyers take a look at it. A prenup must protect your assets, and it must be written in language that’s easy to understand. This ensures that there are no loopholes later on, and that both spouses clearly understood the contract they entered into before marriage.
What Happens If You Don’t Have a Prenup?
When you’re happily married, having a prenuptial agreement isn’t a big concern. In fact, you can always sign a contract during the marriage that specifies how your assets and debts will be divided in case you part ways. However, if you or your spouse is planning to leave the marriage, not having a prenup can make your divorce more complicated.
A prenuptial agreement provides clarification during a divorce. Without it, you can expect to spend more time untangling the finances. Either spouse can contest the divorce proceedings and delay the separation. Furthermore, you or your spouse may have a right to property the other partner brought in from a previous marriage. This could be devastating news to other family members who had planned to inherit.
Whether you want to sign a prenup or need to enforce an existing prenup, The Harr Law Firm can help with the process. Our family law attorneys understand the intricacies of Florida state law and can help you draft a prenuptial agreement that fits your unique family situation. Give us a call or use our contact form to get in touch!