A prenuptial agreement, commonly referred to as a “pre-nup,” is a legal agreement entered into by both spouses before they are married. Prenuptial agreements serve to protect each spouse financially in the event of a divorce or legal separation, and are particularly important if one or both spouses are entering the marriage with a large amount of assets. Prenuptial agreements also outline the rules and procedures to be used should the marriage end in divorce, which results in the reduction of conflict during any subsequent divorce proceedings. Postnuptial agreements serve the same purposes as prenuptial agreements, though they are entered into by both spouses after they are already married.
Indeed, the lack of a pre or postnuptial agreement can lead to a bitter and costly trial where a judge, and not the parties, will determine important issues such as the division of the parties’ assets and liabilities, alimony payments, child support, and timesharing. Further, each state has specific laws regarding what can and cannot be included in a pre or postnuptial agreement. In fact, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can be thrown out by a judge if it is prepared improperly. Additionally, the Florida Supreme Court recently ruled that, in the absence of an agreement stating otherwise, the value of any passive, market-driven appreciation of the parties’ home is subject to equitable distribution between the parties at a later divorce, even if the marital home was originally purchased by one party long before the couple was married. Having a strong prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place can help ensure that your pre-marital assets are protected in the event of divorce.
Our attorneys can assist in preparing, reviewing, and enforcing your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement and can help you defend against an action that your spouse may bring to enforce the terms of an agreement if it was entered into improperly – such as the unfortunately common situation where a spouse is forced to sign under duress on the eve of the wedding.