Tampa Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreement Lawyer
A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help you protect your assets and income and avoid a drawn-out, costly or bitter divorce by deciding in advance, either before marriage or anytime during the marriage, how certain issues will be dealt with in case a separation occurs down the line. For instance, a prenuptial agreement can help you keep your individual property separate, even if it would be deemed a marital asset pursuant to Florida law. In a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, you can decide how matters such as the division of property or alimony will be handled in the event you and your spouse decide to end your relationship. You can also require the making of a will with certain provisions or the purchase of a life insurance policy with certain values and beneficiary designations.
Prenuptial agreements can help both parties enter into a marriage with peace of mind knowing they will be taken care of and not taken advantage of if the marriage doesn’t work. Both parties can go into the marriage with their eyes open regarding the financial situation of the other party, including both their assets and their debts. Either before or during the marriage, the parties can have a candid conversation about their expectations, such as if one spouse is expected to give up a career to support the other spouse or stay at home with the kids. By deciding these issues now, the parties can make rational decisions in their best interests, unclouded by the heat of an emotional divorce process.
Westchase Law P.A. can help you negotiate, draft or review a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that protects you, is in your best interests, and meets your needs in a fair manner. Contact our experienced Tampa prenuptial & postnuptial agreement lawyers today.
Requirements for a Valid Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement in Florida
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements in Florida are governed by a state law known as the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. This law views a prenuptial agreement as a binding contract between the parties. To make a valid and binding contract, the parties must each exchange something of value, which can include giving up a legal right or incurring a legal obligation. This is known in the law as “consideration.” According to the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, the marriage itself acts as the consideration. The prenuptial agreement therefore becomes effective upon the marriage between the parties. In the case of a postnuptial agreement, since the parties are already married, there must be some other consideration exchanged to make the contract effective. A valid consideration might include waiving the right to alimony or certain forms of marital property, for instance.
Additionally, in order to be valid and enforceable, both a prenuptial and postnuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both spouses or prospective spouses. Each party must sign the agreement voluntarily without duress, coercion, overreaching or fraud. If any of these factors are present, the agreement could later be challenged in court, and the judge may rule it unenforceable. For example, springing a prenuptial agreement on the other party an hour before the wedding is an example of putting undue pressure on the other person to sign that would result in the contract being unenforceable.
A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement might also be rendered unenforceable if the following elements are present:
- The agreement was unconscionable (grossly unfair or one-sided) at the time it was created;
- The party seeking to enforce the agreement did not make a fair and reasonable disclosure of their assets and debts to the other party at the time;
- The party challenging the agreement did not waive the right to receive the other party’s disclosure of assets and debts, or
- The party challenging the agreement did not otherwise have sufficient knowledge of the other party’s financial picture.
If the prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is professionally prepared by a skilled and knowledgeable family law attorney, and each party independently reviews the agreement with their own lawyer before signing, then most issues related to the validity or enforceability of the agreement can be avoided.
Contact Westchase Law P.A. Today
The family law attorneys at Westchase Law P.A. are here to help you negotiate a workable solution that protects your rights and meets your needs. Contact our experienced family law attorneys today.