West Palm Beach Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreement Lawyer
If you are preparing to marry, the last thing on your mind may be a prenup. Aren’t those for celebrities and the extremely wealthy? Not at all. In fact, a prenuptial agreement is nothing more than a legal contract that allows you and your soon-to-be spouse more control over how financial matters will be resolved in the event of divorce or at the time of one spouse’s death. Ultimately, a premarital agreement can strengthen your marriage by taking several question marks out of the equation and allowing you to concentrate on deepening your relationship. Don’t delay consulting with an experienced West Palm Beach prenup attorney to learn more about how a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help you.
It’s All in the Timing
The primary difference between prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements in Florida is the timing. Prenups are drafted and signed prior to marriage, and they go into effect as soon as the couple marries. Postnups are a bit different because they are drafted, signed, and go into effect (or are executed) within the marriage. Postnups are often implemented to replace prenups that are rendered obsolete over the course of a marriage. It’s important to note that if the court suspects coercion (or anything else that may affect the validity of the contract), postnuptial agreements tend to get more scrutiny than prenups might. Consulting with a practiced postnup lawyer is in your best interest.
In Order to Be Valid
In order for a prenuptial agreement to be considered valid in the eyes of the law, it must be in accordance with state laws, and none of the following can apply:
- The spouse challenging the agreement did not sign the contract willingly.
- The spouse challenging the agreement signed the contract under duress or due to coercion or fraud.
- The spouse challenging the agreement didn’t receive fair disclosure of the other’s financial circumstances, didn’t waive this right in writing, or did not know or could not reasonably have known the other’s financial circumstances (thus rendering the contract unfair, to begin with).
Additionally, there are two important matters that cannot be addressed in prenups or postnups (and doing so could void all or part of yours), including:
- Matters related to child custody arrangements (which must support the children’s best interests at the time and cannot be determined ahead of time)
- Child support (unless the terms are in excess of what Florida would require)
Further, a prenup or postnup cannot impose terms that are outside the boundaries of the law.
How a Prenup Can Help
There is a wide range of reasons why couples pursue prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, but there are several basic reasons that commonly apply.
Keeping the Lines of Communication Open
The truth is that far too many divorces are predicated on money, and having a prenuptial agreement helps to ensure that you go into your marriage with your eyes wide open about finances. Both parties to the contract are required to share their financial information openly, which can help open the lines of communication in your marriage.
If one of you has considerable debt, including student loan debt, a prenuptial agreement is a good way to address the matter prior to marriage. While the degree will continue to benefit the spouse whose name the debt is in, it won’t benefit the other spouse if the marriage ends in divorce. Because the dividing line between marital assets and debts and separate property is too easily blurred, putting this concern out of your mind prior to marriage allows you to focus on fostering your relationship.
Protecting Your Children
If you have children from a prior relationship when you marry, there is the matter of their inheritance to consider, and a prenuptial agreement allows you to address the matter upfront. A solid prenup can help to guarantee that your children inherit according to your wishes (within the parameters of the law).
Protecting Your Individual Assets
If either you or your soon-to-be spouse has considerable assets, a prenuptial agreement can help you protect their separate nature and can resolve serious financial concerns that may arise in the event of divorce. If any of the following apply to you, reaching out to a trusted premarital agreement attorney is well-advised:
- You own a business, are a co-owner of a business, or are involved in a family business
- You own real estate
- You have amassed considerable wealth of your own
- You stand to inherit a considerable amount
- You have family money
- You have specific financial concerns you want to address
The Matter of Marital Property
In Florida, marital property refers to those assets that you and your spouse acquire during your marriage. It doesn’t matter who makes the purchase, who writes the check, or who signs the contract; if you acquire it while you are married, it is very likely marital property (inheritances and gifts in one spouse’s name alone are common exceptions). In the event of divorce – barring a valid prenuptial or postnuptial contract – these assets must be divided equitably, which means fairly in relation to the circumstances of the marriage. Separate property (the property that either of you brings into the marriage with you), on the other hand, will remain your own – if you are able to maintain its separate nature throughout your marriage. Having a well-considered prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place can help ensure that the boundary between separate and marital property holds in the event of divorce.
Look to an Experienced West Palm Beach Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreement Lawyer for the Help You Need
Chantale Suttle at JustPrenups.com in West Palm Beach is a distinguished prenuptial agreement attorney who is well positioned and well prepared to help you protect your financial rights with a prenup or postnup that addresses your financial concerns and works for you. To learn more, please don’t wait to contact or call us at 800-959-1614 today.