When two people decide to get married, it is usually a happy time centered on plans for the future. In some situations, the couple may want to include a prenuptial agreement as part of their preparations. A couple who wants to have a valid prenuptial agreement will need to adhere to specific legal rules and requirements. Otherwise, they may find that their contract will not be upheld by the court. Here are some reasons why your prenuptial agreement could be held to be invalid:
What is a Preputial (Premarital) Agreement?
In Florida, a prenuptial agreement, or “premarital agreement” is a written contract which sets out how a couple will divide their property if their marriage ends in divorce. These agreements may also contain terms which specify payment of spousal support and other financial compensation which will be required if the couple divorces. A premarital agreement becomes effective upon the marriage of the parties.
What are the Requirements?
Under Florida law, in order for a premarital agreement to be enforceable, it must be in writing and signed by both spouses. It is also required that both parties voluntarily execute the agreement and either fully disclose their liability, income, and assets to one another or waive these disclosures.
What Can Make a Premarital Agreement Unenforceable?
A premarital agreement
will not be enforceable by a Florida court if it is shown that:
· A party did not voluntarily execute the agreement;
· The agreement was the product of fraud, duress, coercion, or overreaching; or
· The agreement was unconscionable when it was executed and, before it was executed, the spouse challenging the agreement:
o Was not given a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party;
o Did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party beyond the disclosure provided; and
o Did not have, or reasonably could not have had, an adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party.
When it comes to creating an enforceable premarital agreement, it is critical that both parties are willing to sign the agreement and have either fully disclosed their finances to each other or voluntarily waived this requirement. The court will not uphold an agreement which appears to be the product of deception.
Developing an enforceable premarital agreement which serves your interest and is fair to your partner, can be complex. The advice of an experienced family law attorney will be essential in helping you create a premarital agreement which can adequately address your needs now and in the future. At the Draper Firm, we understand and can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.