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PRENUPTIAL & POSTNUPTIAL AGREEMENTS

Prenuptial agreements are also known as “premarital agreements.” People who are planning to get married can enter into a prenuptial agreement that will spell out terms for division of assets, business interests, retirement funds, insurance policies and even alimony if the couple ultimately divorces. A “postnuptial agreement” is a written contract that a couple enters into after they are married. It can address the same types of elements as prenuptial agreements—division of assets, business interests, retirement funds, insurance policies and alimony.

PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS

Prenuptial agreements can cover each spouse’s rights during and after the marriage and are a way for couples to reach agreement on often-difficult issues before they are in conflict.

Enforcement

Florida uses the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act (UPAA) to determine whether prenuptial agreements are enforceable. Both parties must sign the agreement for it to be enforceable, and it takes effect when the couple gets married.

A prenuptial agreement is not enforceable if one of the parties can prove that the agreement was signed because of fraud, duress or coercion or it was not signed voluntarily. Fraudulent circumstances also can affect the enforceability of a prenuptial agreement, such as one spouse not disclosing assets and debts.

In Florida, a prenuptial agreement can’t affect child time-sharing or child support; those are determined at the time of the parents’ separation or divorce and are based on their current financial situations, ability to care for the children and the children’s best interests.

POSTNUPTIAL AGREEMENTS

Like prenuptial agreements, a postnuptial agreement is a legal contract that establishes terms that will go into effect if the couple divorces.

Postnuptial agreements must to be in writing and signed by both parties. The contract must contain a statement on which both parties agree in writing that each has truthfully disclosed the state of their financial affairs before entering into the agreement.

Enforcement

Under Florida law, postnuptial agreements are not enforceable by a court if there is proof that the contract was obtained by coercion or fraud. Any agreement that seems to favor one spouse over another in a disproportionate way might be a cause for concern by a judge and prompt a review of the contract to determine if it was obtained under duress.

Laura Davis Smith and Sonja Jean are highly trained and experienced family law attorneys who are qualified and passionate about guiding you through every step of the divorce process. If you are seeking prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, we are knowledgeable about the issues that must be addressed in the agreement and the laws related to enforceability.

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