Postnuptial agreements, as those signed between a married couple regarding a myriad of topics. However, with the significant and broad scope of these agreements, many can find themselves in trouble regarding the legality of their agreement. Therefore, if you are intending on entering a postnuptial agreement with your spouse, employ the assistance of an experienced family law attorney to review your terms and ensure your rights are protected and validly enforceable.
Failing to Meet Statutory Requirements. Post nuptial agreements under Florida law are required to follow both contracts law and family law. In Florida, post nuptial contracts are genuinely required to be in writing as they deal with items that fall under the statute of frauds, such as land interests or conveyance. In addition to being in writing, they must be signed by the parties. Under Statute 732.702 “each spouse shall make a fair disclosure to the other of that spouse’s estate… [and] no consideration other than the execution of the agreement, contract, or waiver shall be necessary to its validity.” Therefore, if you are entering a post nuptial agreement, it is imperative that the agreement is in writing, signed, mutual promises are made, and a fair and accurate disclosure of all financial estates are disclosed to the parties prior to entering the contract this. If a party can show that no writing, signatures or there was a fraudulent representation as to the assets to the parties, the court may find the contract to be invalid and unenforceable.
Using Ambiguous Language. When entering a post nuptial agreement, the most important part is the specific terms set forth. However, one of the most common mistakes made in these agreements are failure to set clear and unambiguous terms. It is common for couples who have been married for some time to understand what the other means, even when using ambiguous language. However, if this language is in the form of a contract, the court will have a difficult time enforcing it. Therefore, it is important not to use terms such as “reasonable,” “car,” “house,” or “retirement.” Instead, you should specifically designate the amount of money requested, the specific make and model of vehicle, the address of the home, or the account number of the retirement in question. Be clear and concise, leaving no room for interpretation when discussing the details of your agreement.
Do Not Coerce Your Spouse. One of the most common reasons post nuptial agreements are deemed invalid is due to the involuntary nature of a spouse’s signature. Under contract law, each party entering the agreement must do so voluntarily, including those between spouses. Coercion or duress are common defenses raised to invalidate an agreement. A spouse may claim that their partner used threatening tactics, blackmail, or pressure to coerce their signature. Although, generally difficult to prove, it is important that you do not pressure your spouse into such an agreement. Even the slightest comment can raise an issue as to coercion and involuntariness. Therefore, ensure your partner consults with their own attorney to discuss their personal rights and reasons for the agreement.
Postnuptial agreement issues may be common; however, these issues are also easily avoidable with proper counsel. Ensure you know your rights, are protected, fully understand your postnuptial terms, and enter a valid agreement by employing the assistance of an experienced attorney.
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