Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreement FAQs
Most couples enter into marriage with the anticipation that they will be together for the rest of their lives. The reality, though, is that many marriages end in divorce. As such, many people take a practical view towards marriage, and while they want their relationships to last, they also want to protect themselves financially if their marriages dissolve. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements allow people to dictate a couple’s right to property and alimony in the event of a divorce, but many people have misconceptions about the benefits and scope of such contracts. If you have questions regarding prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, it is smart to consult an attorney as soon as possible. Sandy T. Fox is a seasoned Miami family lawyer who can advise you of your options and develop a plan suited to meet your needs. Mr. Fox is a Florida Bar Board Certified specialist in Marital & Family Law, and he frequently aids people in Miami in the development of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
- What are the Requirements for a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement to be Valid in Florida?
- What Can I Include in a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement?
- Will the Courts Uphold Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements?
- Can a Party’s Actions Invalidate a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements must be in writing and must be signed by both parties to be valid. Unlike other contracts, no consideration is necessary other than the marriage itself. Prenuptial agreements, which are entered in before the marriage, become effective on the date of the marriage, while postnuptial agreements, which are formed after a couple weds, go into effect when they are signed. The agreements must be entered into voluntarily, and the parties must fully disclose their property and financial obligations unless they have waived the right to such disclosure or aware of one another’s finances.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can establish the rights and obligations of each party with regard to any property they own separately or together, including how such assets should be divided if they divorce and the right to sell, use, buy, lease, or otherwise control any property during the marriage. They can also dictate whether either party will receive spousal support in the event of a divorce and establish ownership rights to the benefits of a life insurance policy and retirement funds. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements cannot, however, adversely affect a party’s right to child support or define child custody rights.
Generally, the courts will uphold prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, with some exceptions. A party arguing that such an agreement should not be enforced must show that it was not executed voluntarily or that it was the product of duress, fraud, coercion, or overreaching. An agreement that was unconscionable when it was executed will also be deemed unenforceable. Unconscionability only arises in cases in which the contesting spouse was not provided a reasonable and fair disclosure of the other spouse’s property financial obligation, did not waive the right to such disclosure, and did not and reasonably could not have an understanding of the other spouse’s finances. A court will also refuse to enforce prenuptial and postnuptial agreements in cases in which the marriage is deemed void.
If the court finds that parties entered into a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, inappropriate behavior on behalf of either spouse is unlikely to invalidate the agreement. In other words, unless the terms of the agreement explicitly state otherwise, adultery, abandonment, or other behavior will not render any or all of the agreement invalid. Parties may choose to include provisions in prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, known as lifestyle clauses, that dictate that certain actions will invalidate the agreement, though, and the courts will typically enforce such terms.
Speak to a Knowledgeable Miami Family Law Attorney
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements often provide peace of mind, but it is important for people considering entering into them to understand their rights. If you or your current or future spouse wish to adopt a marital agreement, it is prudent to retain an attorney. At the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., our knowledgeable Miami attorneys can address your concerns and help you to seek your desired result. We have an office in Aventura, and we regularly assist people with issues pertaining to marriage and divorce in Miami. You can contact us via our form online or at 800.596.0579 to schedule a confidential and complimentary meeting.