Entering into a marriage is a life changing event, one that each party hopes will last forever. However, divorce occurs more frequently that couples would like, with the American Psychological Association reporting that forty to fifty percent of first-time marriages end in divorce. Further, the divorce rate is even higher for second or subsequent marriages. See American Psychological Association. Regardless of the circumstances, a Florida prenuptial agreement can be very helpful to a couple. Premarital agreements, commonly known as pre-nups, are essentially a contract the couple signs before the marriage that determines the distribution of assets, debts, alimony and other issues in the event of a divorce. For more information on a Florida prenuptial agreement contact a divorce lawyer in Tampa.
Florida Prenuptial Agreement
Based on recent changes in Florida divorce law, a Florida prenuptial agreement can cover a wide range of issues, including what, if any spousal support will be given, how debt will be divided, and how assets gained during marriage will be distributed in the event of divorce. Additionally, a Florida prenuptial agreement may include many complex requirements that are not part of a normal contract. For this reason, it is important to consult an experienced Tampa pre-nuptial agreement lawyer while creating and before signing a premarital agreement. Many divorce law firms will offer free initial consultations for these types of legal issues.
Florida Prenuptial Agreement Benefits
There are many benefits a couple can find from a Florida prenuptial agreement. For instance, a Florida prenuptial agreement can allow the parties to determine the terms of a divorce rather than a judge and help avoid costly litigation. Though commonly thought to be important for only wealthy couples, prenuptial agreements can save litigation costs for any couple, as long as thoughtfully and fairly drafted at the onset.
It is important to note, there are some issues a Florida prenuptial agreement cannot determine, such as child custody rights. Based on public policy and because child custody is determined based on the best interest of the children (not the parents) it is not a decision parents and/or spouses can make prior to an active child custody case. To find out more about other issues not eligible for a Florida prenuptial agreement contact a prenuptial agreement attorney in your area.
A non-modifiable Florida Prenuptial Agreement
Generally speaking, a Florida prenuptial agreement is not modifiable, although there is a separate agreement known as a post-nuptial agreement (click here for more information on post-nuptial agreements). Because a Florida prenuptial agreement cannot be modified, good prenuptial agreements will not only account for the assets at the time of marriage, but will consider the potential for future income and accumulation of assets as well, or the depletion of assets or income.
An example where this could be important is in a situation where one party had a high income job when the prenuptial agreement was signed and thus did not request alimony. Then, during the marriage, that party became unable to work due to a disability. Though their financial situation has drastically changed, because the right to alimony was waived originally they cannot receive alimony at the time of divorce. See Florida pre-nuptial agreement law 61.079. While this is the strict letter of the law, a Tampa divorce attorney can help you determine if this is what will happen in your situation.
Florida Equitable Distribution in a Divorce
When drafting or considering the enforcement of a Florida premarital agreement, it is important to remember that Florida utilizes equitable distribution in divorce proceedings should there not be a prenuptial agreement. Simply put, this means that marital property (assets & debts acquired during the marriage) become property of both parties unless exceptions apply or a marital agreement changes the arrangement. This is the standard that will likely be applied should the Florida prenuptial agreement be found void or otherwise unenforceable by the court.
Tampa Divorce Law Firm
The lawyers at Florida Law Advisers, P.A. are experienced at negotiating prenuptial agreements that protect our client’s rights and satisfy rigorous judicial scrutiny. If you are considering drafting or challenging a nuptial agreement and have questions, you are welcome to contact us to schedule a free consultation with a Tampa family law attorney at our firm.