When celebrating a recent engagement or upcoming marriage, one of the last things that most Florida couples want to consider is divorce. Unfortunately, divorce is a very real concern, and is one that couples should consider and prepare for before finding themselves in divorce court. One of the best tools at the disposal of Florida couples is the availability of both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are both designed to establish the division of property and assets in the event that the couple divorces, or in the event of the death of one spouse during the marriage. Many agreements also establish guidelines for separation, alimony, and other financial factors.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements may not seem very romantic or celebratory, but they are highly recommended, especially for couples where each individual brings assets or property into the marriage. While prenuptial agreements are extremely common, many people do not realize that postnuptial agreements are a valuable tool, as well. The differences between a prenuptial agreement and a postnuptial agreement include:
- Prenuptial Agreement – this is drafted and completed prior to the marriage. Prenuptial agreements define which assets are brought into the marriage by each party, and which (if any) assets are to be considered marital property. Prenuptial agreements can be helpful for most couples, and are extremely valuable for couples with complex assets, large financial accounts, or those with children.
- Postnuptial Agreement - Also known in some jurisdictions as separation agreements, postnuptial agreements are tools for couples who are married and who have not previously drafted a prenuptial agreement. Postnuptial agreements establish guidelines for the pending separation including property and financial matters, even though the intent is for the couple to remain legally married. As separation agreements, postnuptial agreements are also useful in establishing guidelines for a future imminent divorce before the couple is ready to file.
Before choosing to draft a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, there are several important things to note, including:
- Full disclosure - Before a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can be successfully drafted and become enforceable, both parties must fully disclose all assets, financial accounts, property, and debt. Failure to do so can result in the prenuptial or postnuptial agreement being deemed fraudulent by the court.
- Temporary Support - During the divorce process, or during the course of separation, the prenuptial and postnuptial agreement regarding alimony does not legally have to be enforced by the presiding judge. Therefore, additional arrangements may be made during this time.
- Choice of attorney - Choosing an attorney who is experienced in drafting prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, is familiar with probate law, and has a working knowledge of legal contracts is crucial.
It is important to remember that prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be challenged and are subject to enforceability laws.
If you want to know more, contact an experienced Gainesville Family Law Attorney today. Call our office anytime to set up your personalized free consultation.