Sometimes the parties to a marriage consider, either before or during marriage, entering into a written agreement to address certain financial and other issues. These written agreements are referred to as prenuptial (entered into before marriage) and post-nuptial (entered into during the marriage) agreements.

There is no question that in some instances prenuptial agreements can be beneficial to some. They can allow each spouse to clearly establish what separate property they each own and wish to maintain as separate during the marriage. They can also spell out how marital property will be distributed, how debts will be handled, and how alimony and other financial issues will be addressed in the event of a later divorce.

Prenuptial agreements can be beneficial, but they can also generate significant disputes and litigation if not carefully prepared. While these agreements can clearly provide some benefits, problems concerning their validity and enforcement can arise if, as is many times the case, they are put together haphazardly, in a hurried manner, or at the last minute. Problems with validity and enforcement can also result if the terms of the prenuptial agreement are unreasonable.

Among other factors, for a prenuptial agreement to be valid and enforceable it is necessary that each party fully disclose to the other their financial status, including all assets, liabilities and income.  Each party must have adequate time to consider and evaluate the proposed agreement.  Indeed, many prenuptial agreements have been challenged in court because either one party did not properly disclose assets or because one party was not given adequate time to consider the agreement and consult with an attorney.

Post-nuptial agreements are also becoming more common in Florida. These typically are considered when the financial circumstances of the parties change after marriage. For example, a pre-marital business that was not doing well may suddenly develop, during the marriage, into a major financial asset. Similarly, one party may win the lottery or inherit significant money or property. Depending upon the parties’ circumstances, such major financial changes may prompt consideration of a post-nuptial agreement.  As with prenuptial agreements, post-nuptial contracts can be complicated to draft so that they are enforceable and valid. 

If you believe you may need a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, or you have been asked to sign or consider one, it is essential that you speak with an experienced attorney. While it seems it would be easy to prepare an agreement explaining “yours is yours and mine is mine,” real life and legal considerations are much more complicated than that. For example, not all assets appreciate the same way, and not all assets are valued using identical approaches. There are a host of details that can have a significant effect on the validity of prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements.
Contact Mike Duncan and Duncan Trial & Family Law for help with your prenuptial and post-nuptial agreement issues.

Contact Trial and Family Lawyer Mike Duncan: 904-655-2475


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