Who should consider a premarital agreement in Florida? Anyone getting married in Florida, even if you are “sure” you will not need one, or you think that you don’t have anything to lose.
A premarital agreement is an agreement between future spouses to handle assets and other matters in a planned way should the marriage falter. Think of a premarital agreement this way: you are settling a possible disagreement in the future now when both parties’ emotions are at their best (we assume/hope).
Here are some issues that can be resolved up front that could be of monetary or emotional importance to a couple:
- Retention of assets owned by the spouses before a marriage.
- Who gets “custody” of pets (or plants) taken into the marriage— or even acquired during the marriage.
- Separation of business interests going into a marriage.
- Division of personal property like furniture, cookware, and jewelry.
- Agreement on alimony for a spouse should a divorce occur after a specified duration of marriage.
- Agreement on what happens to retirement plans, or life insurance policies.
- Any other subject or issue so long as the agreement doesn’t violate the law or public policy. Florida Statutes Ch. 61.079 (4) (a) 8.
One major exception under Florida Law: custody of the children and child support cannot be negotiated because ultimately a judge must approve these matters in the best interest(s) of the child(ren). Florida Statutes Ch. 61.13(3) and 61.079 (4) (b).
In 2007 Florida adopted the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act (UPAA) to establish standards for enforcing a premarital agreement. It is critical to understand the standards for asking a Florida judge to later enforce the agreement (potentially, during a contentious divorce proceeding. This is the reason why everyone should seek the advice of family counsel upon finalizing a premarital agreement. The agreement must be executed voluntarily and must not be unconscionable (essentially shocking to the conscience of the judge). Full disclosure of financial assets and affairs must be accomplished by both parties for the agreement to be enforceable.
Seeking the advice of a family law lawyer for one or both parties can avoid later allegations that the agreement was unfair, fraudulent, or that one party did not receive full disclosure. For your convenience, we have provided the matters than can be addressed by a prenuptial agreement under Florida Law below this post. If you need confidential legal advice with your particular situation in family law, please call us for a consultation.
Call our office today at 850-818-0236. We also have offices located in Pensacola, Fort Walton, Tallahassee and Orlando for your convenience.
Matters addressable by a premarital agreement under Florida Law:
(a) Parties to a premarital agreement may contract with respect to:
1. The rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them whenever and wherever acquired or located;
2. The right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property;
3. The disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event;
4. The establishment, modification, waiver, or elimination of spousal support;
5. The making of a will, trust, or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement;
6. The ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy;
7. The choice of law governing the construction of the agreement; and
8. Any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not in violation of either the public policy of this state or a law imposing a criminal penalty.