Pre-Marital Agreements for High-Income Couples in Florida

pre marital agreement

Establishing a prenuptial agreement before marriage is a prudent measure that can save couples significant time, money, and energy in the event of a divorce. For high-income couples, a pre-marital agreement can provide safeguards to keep family assets or other wealth intact and ensure that each spouse remains financially secure if the marriage ends.

Working with a Tampa prenuptial agreement attorney is the best way to set forth marital property and protect individual property if a high-net-worth divorce occurs, particularly if either partner has significant assets or earns a substantial income. A prenuptial agreement determines the distribution of assets, debts, alimony, and other issues in the event of a high-income couple’s divorce. A properly drafted prenuptial agreement can allow you to modify specific provisions of Florida divorce law to better protect both of you.

If you are getting married, a Florida divorce attorney at Florida Law Advisers, P.A., can answer your questions about prenuptial agreements and discuss whether a prenup is appropriate in your situation. Our Tampa premarital agreement lawyers understand the needs of high-net-worth couples and can help you draft an agreement that addresses your specific circumstances. Our law firm has in-depth experience handling family law matters, including prenups and other Florida family law issues. We want to make this process easy for you.

Call us today or visit our contact page to set up an initial consultation. A family law attorney can review your needs and concerns.

How a Prenup Can Protect Your Net Worth

In divorces, Florida requires equitable distribution of the couple’s marital assets and debt. Real property, personal property, financial assets, or debt that a couple acquires during their marriage is considered marital property, which must be divided between the spouses in a divorce.

A divorcing couple can reach their own agreement for the distribution of marital assets and the court will approve it if it is fair to each spouse. In a contentious divorce, a couple that cannot come to an agreement will be forced to abide by a judge’s decision.

A prenuptial agreement is a contract that can be written to address the distribution of marital assets ahead of a divorce. A prenup can designate assets to be considered separate property and, therefore, not part of the divisible estate, even if that asset was acquired during the marriage.

For example, a prenup may be written to protect a spouse’s rights to intellectual property developed individually during the marriage or to maintain possession of family inheritances, such as shares of a business or real estate.

Conversely, the spouse of an entrepreneur might use a prenup as a shield against financial liability for potential losses from the other partner’s business ventures or from third-party creditors if one spouse enters the marriage with a considerable amount of debt.

Individuals with children from a previous marriage may use a prenup to ensure that certain wealth goes to those children in the event of a divorce. A prenup can be written to require each spouse to accept the other’s existing will, trust, or other estate planning documents as written, which makes challenging them later more difficult.

What Are the Most Requested Items in a Prenuptial Agreement?

Under Florida’s Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, the parties to a marriage may enter a binding contract that addresses such issues as:

  • Assets and Liabilities – A prenup may establish each party’s rights and obligations concerning any assets and liabilities the couple has or acquires, including their distribution upon separation, dissolution, death, or other events. A prenup would individually address such assets as real estate, valuable personal property (antiques, artwork, vehicles), business interests, bank accounts, investment accounts, etc., as well as debt ( mortgages, personal loans, credit card balances).
  • Assets for Children – A prenup may include language to state that certain property or accounts should be kept separate from marital assets and be distributed to children of this or a previous marriage.
  • Alimony – Agreeing on the terms of alimony and the details of how it will be paid will be easier prior to marriage than during a divorce.
  • Retirement Accounts – Retirement accounts based on income accrued during marriage may be considered marital property unless a marital contract states otherwise. If one spouse, child, or other dependent is to receive a predefined portion of the other spouse’s retirement plan assets, the separation and divorce agreement would require a Qualified Domestic Relations’ Order (QDRO).
  • Life insurance – A prenup can state ownership rights and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy and may require a spouse to maintain life insurance (or health care insurance) that benefits the other, even after a divorce.
  • Estate Planning – A prenup may require either or both spouses to establish a will, trust, or another arrangement as necessary to carry out the provisions of the prenuptial agreement.

A prenup cannot deny or dictate child custody or child support after a divorce. Underage children have a legal right to their parents’ support. The family law court must decide all child custody and support orders in a divorce.

Are Prenuptial Agreements Enforceable in High-Net-Worth Divorces?

A properly drafted and executed prenuptial agreement should be enforceable in Florida. A valid prenup must be:

  • Voluntary – Both parties must have executed the agreement of their own free will and without fraud, duress, coercion, or overreaching.
  • Fair – An agreement that was egregiously unfair when it was executed may be ruled invalid if challenged.
  • Understood – Before signing, each party must have had a fair and reasonable disclosure of the other party’s assets and debts and must have been capable of understanding this information.

Suppose one spouse requires public assistance following a separation or divorce. In that case, a court can be compelled to invalidate any provisions about alimony in a prenup and require the capable spouse to pay support.

Further, a Florida divorce court can find specific contract provisions invalid while still enforcing the remainder of a prenuptial agreement.

How to Draft a High-Net-Worth Prenup

When entering into a prenuptial agreement, both parties must hire their own divorce attorney to ensure that their rights and interests are protected. A single attorney cannot ethically serve both parties.

Drafting an agreement requires both parties to provide a detailed statement of their financial assets and debt. Then, with the advice and guidance of their attorneys, the two parties must discuss each asset and debt, plus other issues, and their desires for them should they divorce.

A prenuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties and witnesses (e.g., their attorneys). Before signing, each party should be well informed of the agreement’s benefits and disadvantages. Once a prenuptial is fully executed, it may be binding and non-modifiable.

Contact Our Tampa Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers

At Florida Law Advisers, P.A., our Florida divorce lawyers have extensive experience drafting prenuptial agreements and other family law matters. We can customize our professional services under Florida law to meet your needs as a high-income couple. To speak with a Tampa premarital agreement lawyer at our firm, call us today at (844) 698-3765 or reach out online. A Florida divorce lawyer is available to answer your calls 24/7 and provide an initial consultation.

At Florida Law Advisers, P.A., we are committed to solving your divorce, bankruptcy, and immigration matters. We are a full-service law firm serving clients in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Orlando, and throughout Central Florida.