Prenuptial Agreement

What You Need to Know About Prenuptial Agreements

You are about to be married.  It is a time of joy, of celebration, of hopes and dreams, of love everlasting.  You are about to begin a marriage, full of wonderful possibilities. Of course, the last thing you will want to consider is the end of the marriage, let alone a prenuptial agreement laying out, contractually, what will happen if the marriage ends. Why think about something so depressing as the end of a love relationship when the relationship is just beginning?

Unfortunately, conventional wisdom tells us that about one half of marriages end in divorce. So, it is both practical and reasonable to consider the possibility of such an ending, particularly because the odds are 50-50.  Moreover, to those romantics who do not want to even jinx a marriage by contemplating its demise, it might be helpful to get a prenuptial agreement anyway.  The prenuptial agreement, in that case, can be seen as challenge.  A relationship that has a prenuptial agreement – but does need one – is a strong relationship indeed. So, when viewed in that light, a prenuptial agreement does not have to have the depressing aura that many people may want to place on it.

At Doane & Doane, we have handled many prenuptial agreements for our clients.  And we are happy to report that many of our coupled clients have never had a need to review the document even once, because their relationship is a strong one. But, in those sadder circumstances when reviewing the prenuptial agreement is a necessity, we are proud that we have effectively articulated what the parties wanted, so that the transition to an end of the marriage is a relatively smooth one.

If you would like more information about prenuptial agreements, or you are considering drafting one for you and your spouse-to-be, give us a call. The extremely capable attorneys at Doane & Doane find a great deal of pride in sensitively and successfully helping couples navigate the prenuptial agreement negotiations easily and with agreeable results for all parties. We welcome you to call us at 561-656-0200 and schedule a free consultation with one of our expert attorneys. We are here to make the prenuptial agreement experience understandable and worthwhile.

To get you started on your journey to learning more about prenuptial agreements in general, here is a list some of the “need to know” facts about prenuptial agreements in Florida.

What Exactly Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is essentially a contract.  It is an agreement between two people who are about to get married.  The agreement lays out how any and all assets will be divided in the event that the couple ends up getting divorced.  In addition, a prenuptial agreement can allow you or your spouse-to-be to dictate how assets will be allocated when he or she dies.

When is a Prenuptial Agreement Recommended?

Of course, the answer to that question depends on how you and your spouse-to-be feel about the existence of such an agreement.  That said, a prenuptial agreement would be recommended if:

  1. You have significant assets,
  2. You expect to inherit significant assets,
  3. You expect to accumulate significant assets through only your own efforts,
  4. You want the freedom to leave certain assets to people other than your spouse in the event of your death.

Thus, a prenuptial agreement may not always be worthwhile, and it is certainly not necessary to be married. But if one or more of the four circumstances above is true, you may want to consider getting a prenuptial agreement before marriage.

Can a Prenuptial Agreement Be Changed After the Wedding?

Absolutely. A prenuptial agreement can always be changed during the marriage.  A lot of things happen during the course of a marriage, so it only makes sense that the couple can alter their understanding of the disposition of assets in the event of a divorce. As you would expect, both parties must agree to whatever changes are being made. In fact, it is very common for married couples to change the terms of their prenuptial agreements.

Is There Anything Required to Make Sure a Prenuptial Agreement is Valid in Florida?

The rules actually vary from State to State. For a prenuptial agreement to be valid in the State of Florida, there should be at least the following present in connection with the prenuptial agreement:

  • Each party is represented by independent counsel,
  • Attached to the agreement is a full and fair disclosure of assets, (generally, attached to a prenuptial agreement is a list of each party’s assets), and
  • Proper formalities followed at signing, including a witness and notarized signatures.

How Long Could It Take to Get a Prenuptial Agreement?

As you would expect, the length of time to negotiate a prenuptial agreement depends largely on the parties doing the negotiating, and somewhat on the size of the assets being negotiated. In our experience at Doane & Doane, we have seen a straightforward prenuptial agreement take a few weeks.  That scenario is where the parties are in agreement and there are little to no negotiations. However, we have also seen cases that went on for several months because there were many details that were subject to careful negotiations.

What Happens if We Don’t Have a Prenuptial Agreement and We Get Divorced?

While it may be unpleasant to negotiate a prenuptial agreement before a marriage has even begun, the huge upside is that you have certainty during the marriage and if you decide to divorce. The downside to getting a divorce without a prenuptial agreement is that you have lots of uncertainty.

Without a prenuptial agreement, the division of assets is decided ultimately by a court. In addition, the court will make determinations as to alimony, child support, and whether pre-marital assets should be included or kept separate from the division of assets. In sum, the outcome of a court-run divorce is hard to predict, particularly if the outcome could change slightly based on the judge overseeing it.

Florida Attorneys Are Ready to Help You With Your Prenup

Overall, prenuptial agreements are not the most pleasant contracts to negotiate when you are on the cusp of getting married.  But, in the long run it is a sensible thing for both parties to consider. We at Doane & Doane are committed to making sure that our clients get the best of advice and care when negotiating a prenuptial agreement. If you are looking to draft an agreement, or just need more information, we invite you to call us today at 561-656-0200.