Under Florida law, a prenuptial agreement is a contract signed between two parties who intend to get married, which defines their respective rights and obligations during the marriage, or at a later time if the marriage is dissolved. Prenuptial agreements can be used to attempt to avoid expensive and lengthy legal battles that sometimes occur when a marriage ends. They can also be used to avoid equitable distribution of their assets by a court during a divorce, by instead instructing the court on how assets should be divided between the parties.
Prenuptial agreements can address a variety of issues such as:
- Distribution of assets
- Division of property
- Promises made between parties
- How each party will be supported after a divorce
A prenuptial agreement may not include waivers of provisions regarding parental responsibility, parental support, or time-sharing rights.
Prenuptial agreements must be in writing in order to be enforced by a Florida court. Because it is important to take all necessary steps to ensure the validity of a prenuptial agreement and avoid later claims of fraud or coercion, it is important for each party entering into a prenuptial agreement to have an attorney who can inform them of their rights and review any agreement that is drafted. Additionally, prenuptial agreements are often non-modifiable and will not be invalidated simply because they are a “bad deal,” thus it is very important to seek the advice of a qualified divorce attorney before signing a prenuptial agreement.
A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement except that parties sign it after they are already married. Postnuptial agreements may be created without anticipation of divorce and are used to set forth the rights of parties during the marriage or in the event of death. They can also be created when a married couple anticipates divorce and wishes to amicably distribute their assets – this type of agreement is also called a separation agreement. As with prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements must be in writing and should be reviewed by a qualified divorce attorney in order to ensure that all rights are adequately protected.