Premarital agreements (also referred to as “prenuptial agreements” or “prenups”) are legal documents that lay a foundation for how a couple will handle the financial affairs of their relationship before getting married.
These agreements include financial decisions such as who will own property acquired before the marriage and whether the couple will co-own a joint bank account. In the event of divorce, premarital agreements help couples divide their assets efficiently and amicably.
For a premarital agreement to be enforceable in court, there are specific elements every prenup should include. Here is what you need to create a legally-binding premarital agreement in Florida.
What’s the Purpose of a Premarital Agreement?
Although some may think premarital agreements are primarily about asset division in the event of a divorce, this is not their central purpose. The main goal is for you and your partner to have open lines of communication regarding the financial aspects of your relationship and provide a roadmap for handling money once you walk down the aisle.
In this way, premarital agreements help reduce conflict and confusion during the marriage. Premarital agreements are created before marriage and go into effect once you are legally married.
Steps for Creating a Valid Premarital Agreement in Florida
Must be in Writing
Only typed, written documents are valid. Verbal agreements are not enforceable in Florida courts. In addition, handwritten agreements, like ones scribbled hastily on a napkin, are not considered legal documents.
You and your future spouse must sign a premarital agreement. Unlike specific estate planning documents, no witnesses are needed to sign a prenup for it to be valid.
In addition, it is advantageous to sign your prenup at least one month before your wedding day for the best chance of it being accepted in court.
Waiting to sign your agreement days or hours before the wedding ceremony could signify that the agreement was made under duress.
Premarital agreements must be created without the threat of violence or coercion. If a court can prove that you or your partner felt forced to sign the agreement for any reason, the entire document would be considered invalid and unenforceable.
A prenuptial agreement must be truthful regarding the assets of both parties. You both must fully disclose your assets and finances.
The entire agreement would be invalid if you or your partner lied about your financial status or assets (and had not waived your right to disclose assets fully).
What to Include in a Premarital Agreement
Premarital agreements are crafted to fit the specific needs of you and your partner. However, every premarital agreement should specify how you will handle your everyday finances.
This could include whether you will own joint bank accounts or how much you will contribute to each other’s retirement fund annually. Premarital agreements can also discuss how you will split financial obligations, such as filing taxes, paying off student loans, or taking care of utility bills.
You should also include how you would like your marital property and personal assets divided in the event of a divorce. Waiving your surviving spouse or spousal support rights is also something to include in your premarital agreement, if applicable.
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Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC
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Orlando, FL 32803