Before you think of wedding bells and walking down the aisle, it’s a good idea to also think about the consequences if your marriage fails. It’s not a pleasant thought to predict the end of your relationship, but both parties need to consider their best interests and how they can best serve their future selves now.
Ownership of holiday homes, trust funds, and retirement plans comes into play when a couple separates. Therefore, if you have considerable pre-marital assets you will want every reassurance that your property remains yours should your marriage break down.
In today’s society we cannot rely on the promise of a lifelong marriage. Currently, in the United States about 50% of first marriages and almost 70% of remarriages end in divorce. Those are some sobering figures if you are currently contemplating exchanging wedding bands with a new found love.
The Changing Landscape of Marriage
These days people no longer marry their first loves straight out of high school but instead wait longer to marry until they have accomplished career goals. Therefore a lot of people are more financially secure before marrying, with both parties bringing in significant assets. Whether it is a first marriage or a second, third, or fourth marriage, both spouses frequently enter the relationship with their own homes, savings, trust funds and children. A pre-marital agreement can help to bring predictability and security to any settlement if the marriage ends.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
The pre-marital or prenuptial agreement is a carefully thought-out contract between two people in anticipation of their marriage. These agreements are also called “antenuptial agreements”, but are more commonly known as “prenups”. In brief, the engaged couple will decide how financial matters will be resolved in the event of a divorce, separation or death.
Florida has The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act which applies to prenuptial agreements entered into from October 1, 2007. Some of the major provisions of the Florida UPAA include:
- The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties
- Any issue may be dealt with in the arrangement as long as it does not conflict with criminal law or Florida public policy
- Child support may not be predetermined
- The agreement may not be influenced by fraud, duress, coercion or overreaching
The agreement can be revoked or modified after marriage, but it must be in writing. The UPAA also states that the agreement may not be unconscionable, which means that both parties must receive fair disclosure of the other’s assets, income and liabilities, before entering into the contract. It is also important to note that if the agreement does not provide sufficient spousal support then the courts can order increased payments to prevent one party becoming impoverished.
Consequences of a Bad Prenup
You may have heard the old saying: ‘A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for an attorney.’ This is definitely true when people try to write their own prenuptial agreements.
Some people try to avoid legal fees by drawing up their own agreement or they download a template off the internet which isn’t tailored to their circumstances. In their haste to protect their assets, they negotiate the agreement with their partner and convince them to sign it without seeking legal counsel.
Having such a signed agreement manner won’t stop lengthy legal action by an unhappy spouse after divorce, and it will cost far more than the fee for a good prenup to protect your assets. If you have significant property or wealth that you would like to protect in the event of a divorce, seek a trained and experienced attorney that will be able to draw up a legally binding agreement that will withstand any legal action after the marriage breakdown.
Our attorneys at the Anton Legal Group are fully versed and familiar with drafting prenuptial agreements and will be able to give you clear and accurate information on how to best protect your assets in the event of a divorce. We invite you to call us today to arrange for a free consultation and discuss your case at (813) 443-5249.