Have you been riding high on a wave of happiness from your engagement? Were you shocked when your partner mentioned the topic of prenuptial agreements? Understand that old stereotypes about premarital agreements have not stood the test of time. Raising the subject does not automatically mean your betrothed has ulterior motives, a secret agenda or the desire to keep wealth away from you.
Today, most couples that explore the pros and cons of prenups as part of wedding planning are usually engaging in smart financial management and personal planning. The question of a prenuptial agreement should not weaken marital commitment or cause hurt feelings. There are good reasons to consider that level of futures planning.
Benefits and purposes
Florida premarital agreement law allows a couple in contemplation of marriage to contract about any subject except one that would violate public policy or criminal law or try to predetermine child support or custody issues. Instead, common scenarios for premarital agreements concern predetermination of ownership or distribution of money or property – and debt or liability – in the event of divorce or death. The agreement may also provide for pre-set spousal support or alimony or disposition of retirement accounts.
Without this kind of binding contract, disposition of wealth could happen by operation of law in ways the parties would not have wanted.
- One party has ownership interest in a close, family business that they want to remain with members of their family of origin.
- One party wants money set aside for the care of an elderly or disabled loved one.
- A party who already has children or grandchildren desires that those descendants inherit pre-existing family assets or heirlooms rather than them going to the future spouse or that person’s heirs.
- A future spouse has wealth that they would like to distribute to other people or causes outside the marriage.
- A party does not want to saddle their future spouse with debt.
- One partner wants to protect assets and money from the other spouse or other family members who may have addiction to alcohol or drugs, spending or gambling, or who engage in other behavior that would put the assets at risk.
- And others
A basic requirement for an enforceable prenup is that each party must fully disclose their assets and liabilities so that negotiation is not based on false premises.
Nuts and bolts
This only introduces a detailed, complicated area of law. It is important that each partner have their own legal counsel so that they fully understand what they might be giving up with certain provisions and so they can accomplish their goals. A Florida family lawyer can draft or review an agreement the other party drafted as well as assist with negotiations, if necessary. An attorney can see that the document’s provisions are proper, procedural requirements are followed and the agreement is otherwise enforceable.