It is not uncommon for engaged couples to sign prenuptial agreements before they marry. This is an especially popular, and pragmatic, choice for individuals who are business owners, have significant assets, or those who have children from previous relationships. A prenuptial agreement does not signify that a couple does not have faith in their marriage; it is simply a document that provides guidelines for what will happen to each individual’s assets in the event of a death or divorce.
When you work with an attorney to create a prenuptial agreement, it must comply with certain laws to ensure that it will be upheld in court. In Florida, the applicable law is the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act.
You Must Disclose All your Assets
A prenuptial agreement exists to keep certain assets from being divided by the court in the event of a divorce. Before you sign a prenuptial agreement, you must disclose all of your assets to your spouse unless he or she signs a document waiving this right. Otherwise, his or her attorney can argue that the agreement is invalid because you were not completely honest about your finances.
Both Parties Must Sign the Agreement Without Coercion or Duress
Basically, both parties must sign the prenuptial agreement voluntarily. If there is evidence that either party was threatened or coerced into signing it, the agreement may be deemed to be invalid.
The Prenuptial Agreement Must Not be Based on Fraud
Just as you must disclose all of your assets to your partner before signing the prenuptial agreement, you may not embellish these assets or otherwise deceive him or her about what you have. This includes fraud based on your identity or your projected future income based on your current circumstances. If either party is found to have been dishonest about their assets, the prenuptial agreement may be deemed to be invalid.
Even in a Valid Agreement, Certain Requirements Can be Invalid
When this happens, the court will enforce the valid portions only. Examples of invalid requirements include anything that cannot actually be enforced, such as the following:
- How many children the couple will have;
- The lifestyle the couple will maintain; and
- Each partner’s health.
A prenuptial agreement also cannot include requirements about child custody or support because at the time the agreement is signed, there is no way to know what either partner’s circumstances will be at the time of their divorce. The court creates custody agreements with the child’s best interest in mind, which cannot be known years or even decades before the couple divorces.
Work with a Winter Park Divorce Attorney
A prenuptial agreement is a great way to protect your assets in the event of a divorce. But a prenuptial agreement is useless if it cannot be enforced by the court. Make sure your prenuptial agreement is valid by working with an experienced Winter Park divorce attorney to draft and finalize it. Learn more about prenuptial agreements by setting up your free legal consultation with The Law Offices of Aubrey Harry Ducker, Jr., PLLC.