Prenuptial agreements are contracts between soon-to-be spouses that decide how property distribution and spousal support (alimony) will be treated in the event that the marriage ends. The agreement generally covers financial matters but not issues like child custody (timesharing) or child support. All of the states allow couples to enter into enforceable prenuptial agreements, but each state has its own rules. If you are thinking of drafting a prenuptial agreement with someone whom you are planning to marry, or if you are contesting a prenuptial agreement during a divorce, you can consult the West Palm Beach prenuptial agreement lawyers at the Law Offices of Stephen J. Press. We can make sure that your property interests are protected and that your spouse or future spouse does not take advantage of you.What a Prenuptial Agreement Covers
Couples enter into prenuptial agreements for lots of different reasons, among them a desire to make their financial condition in case of a divorce more stable and certain. Although some people assume that people who enter into prenuptial agreements are wealthy, many people get prenuptial agreements even when they are not especially wealthy. Perhaps they have business interests or professional practice interests that they hope to keep separate from their spouse, perhaps they own substantial assets that they do not want divided in case of a divorce, or perhaps they want to protect the financial interests of their children from a prior relationship.
Florida law allows couples to make prenuptial agreements as long as they do not violate the law or public policy. These agreements will address each spouse's financial duties and rights during the marriage and if the marriage is dissolved. An agreement may address property division in case of a legal separation or divorce, what happens to property upon the death of either spouse, each spouse's ability to control assets during the marriage, maintenance (alimony) during a legal separation or divorce, the division of retirement plans, the division of pensions, and the division of life insurance policies. It also may cover certain terms that will be included in a will and provide which law will be applied to interpret the prenuptial agreement. Many of these provisions can be complicated, but a prenuptial agreement attorney in the West Palm Beach area can guide you through their nuances.
Excluded from a prenuptial agreement's terms are child custody (timesharing) and child support. Courts need to determine a child's best interests at the time of the divorce, and they will calculate child support according to each parent’s ability to pay at the time of the divorce. It is possible for parents to reach an agreement about child custody and child support at the time that they separate or divorce, but it needs to be approved by a court.Enforceability of Prenuptial Agreements
Florida has adopted the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act, which determines whether a prenuptial agreement is enforceable. To be enforceable, the prenuptial agreement needs to be in writing and signed. To show that a prenuptial agreement should not be enforced, a spouse would need to be able to show that they only signed the agreement due to duress, fraud, or coercion, that they did not sign the agreement voluntarily, or that the agreement was unconscionable combined with certain other circumstances. These involve showing that they were not given a fair, reasonable disclosure of the other spouse's financial condition, they did not waive the right to get this disclosure, and they could not reasonably have had knowledge of the other spouse's financial condition. A West Palm Beach prenuptial agreement attorney can help you navigate these elements.
A prenuptial agreement might be unenforceable, for instance, if your spouse concealed assets from you when you signed the agreement or if your spouse threatened you with physical or psychological harm unless you signed the agreement. It would not be enough to show duress to claim that your spouse refused to marry you unless you signed the prenuptial agreement.
When a prenuptial agreement is very unfair, it may be found unconscionable by the court. However, it is not sufficient to find the agreement unconscionable. As shown by the factors above, there must also be proof that there was an insufficient financial disclosure of assets and debts. The idea is that each spouse needs financial disclosures to be able to make informed decisions prior to signing a prenuptial agreement.Consult a Trustworthy Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer in West Palm Beach
Our team consists of skillful family law attorneys who have experience negotiating and litigating prenuptial agreements and other complex matters related to a divorce in South Florida. We represent people throughout Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin Counties, including in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Jupiter, Royal Palm Beach, Wellington, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Davie, Coral Springs, Hollywood, Hallandale Beach, Pompano Beach, Plantation, Stuart, Hobe Sound, Indiantown, Palm City, and Jensen Beach. Call the Law Offices of Stephen J. Press at (888) 808-2772 or use our online form to set up an appointment.