Prenuptial agreements have been recognized under Florida law for many years. Initially these agreements were viewed with significant suspicion and interpreted by Florida courts with many restrictions. However, over the years prenuptial agreements have become routinely accepted and enforced by courts according to their written terms.
At least three significant changes in the law have taken place over the years.
- First, the providing of full financial disclosure in writing at the time of the signing of the agreement largely freed courts to enforce what were determined to be reasonable agreements.
- Second, the Florida Legislature enacted a prenuptial agreement statute which largely defined the court’s role in the interpretation and enforcement of the agreements. This statute largely replaced the hodgepodge of case law, which was often inconsistent, to guide courts in their decision making.
- Third, a recent Supreme Court case provided significant additional guidance to courts. Now, generally the terms of prenuptial agreements will be enforced in Florida irrespective of whether or not the Court believes they are reasonable or fair, if the agreement is clear. In addition, full disclosure of assets and liabilities can be waived by the parties. A note of caution, as a general practice I would not rely upon this waiver, and full disclosure should still be made in writing.
The metamorphosis of Florida law from being very suspicious and restrictive in the interpretation and enforcement of pre-marital agreements to the near wholesale enforcement of agreements has largely followed the changes and trends of modern family in our ever changing society. The current law recognizes the rate of divorce, the existence of multiple marriages, marriages taking place later in life, step children, the trend toward economic equality between the sexes, and the trend toward more equal child raising between the sexes. This is a case of changes in the law reflecting changes in most people’s day-to-day lives.
Tampa FL Prenuptial Agreement Attorneys
Prenuptial agreements are often the most important financial agreements entered into between parties during their entire lives. Compounding the complexity of signing a prenuptial agreement is the stress of the event and the belief in forever love. In addition, prenuptial agreements are complex documents and must be tailored to anticipate possible events far into the future. The preparation of a prenuptial agreement requires knowledge of the law, the ability to peer into the future, and significant legal experience. If there was ever a particular task which warrants the involvement of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney, it would be the preparation of a prenuptial agreement. These agreements affect not only the economic future of the parties but also the relative emotional and psychological positions of the parties over much of their future lives. Preparing a prenuptial agreement hastily and on the cheap can be the ultimate false economy.
Florida Postnuptial Agreements
Postnuptial agreements, that is agreements signed after the date of marriage, are also recognized under Florida law. Similar rules apply though they are not identical.