A prenuptial agreement (commonly known as a prenup) is a contract that a couple signs before getting married. It clearly outlines the couple’s possessions and each spouse’s rights to the other’s property. This includes any assets or financial obligations that a couple may have.
The other type of contract you may sign is a postnuptial agreement (also known as a postnup). You can sign a postnup at any time after your marriage. The main difference between postnups and prenups is the time difference.
While some states do not allow couples to sign postnups, you can have one in Florida. However, the requirements are stringent, and you may need an experienced Prenuptial and postnuptial agreement lawyer to help you.
When to Get a Prenuptial Agreement
While prenuptial agreements are particularly common among wealthy couples, they can serve multiple purposes depending on your needs. So, you do not have to be extremely wealthy to seek a prenup. There are many ways a prenup may serve you in your future marriage.
You are Wealthier Than Your Partner
While you may not be a multimillionaire, you probably make much more money than your spouse. If that is the case, you can file a prenup to ensure that your spouse has no ownership rights to your wealth. In the case of a divorce, any wealth listed as solely yours will not be affected.
To Protect Your Inheritance
If you come from a family where inheritance and heirlooms are passed from one generation to another, you want to protect them from your spouse during a divorce. In such cases, your prenup should clearly state the extent of your inheritance and indicate that it is not marital wealth.
With a prenup, you can dictate your spouse’s right to seek alimony after a divorce. The prenup will indicate whether you will need to provide your ex with funds for their maintenance. It may also limit the amount that the court orders as alimony.
You Are Remarrying
If this is not your first marriage, then you probably have children from your previous marriage and would like to ensure their financial security. A prenup will outline how much of your wealth would go to your other family and what financial rights they have to your estate. The agreement protects the interests of any of your dependents if you are incapacitated or if you die.
To Secure Your Estate
Your prenup will clearly outline your plan for what happens to your property after you die. Most states offer the surviving spouse a huge share of the deceased’s estate. If the divorce was not final by the time of your death, your ex might get a huge part of your wealth, and your other dependents may be left out. A prenup ensures that none of that happens.
Protect Yourself From Debt
You may also need a prenup if your spouse is prone to immense debts. For instance, if your future spouse owns shares in companies with high liability, it may be best to sign a prenup. Without a prenup, you may lose your property whenever your spouse gets into debt. Signing a prenup absolves you from any debt responsibility that may arise.
How To Get A Prenuptial Agreement
For your prenup to be valid, you must file it correctly. The prenup guidelines may vary depending on your state; that is why you need a prenuptial and postnuptial agreements lawyer if you want to sign one in Neptune Beach. Here are some of the steps to getting a valid prenup in Florida.
Inform Your Spouse
The first thing you will need to do is to openly communicate your intentions with your future spouse. The court will not consider any prenups signed out of one party’s ignorance. Ensure your spouse fully understands your intentions for the prenup and has adequate time to get a lawyer.
Seek Legal Guidance
You will then need to contact your prenuptial and postnuptial agreement lawyer to help draft the agreement and make it legally binding. Your lawyer will advise you on what you should do to ensure the agreement is valid.
Discuss The Finances
Be sure to include all the details about your financial assets and wealth. If your prenup omits any financial details, it may lose its credibility. Discuss your partner’s assets, credit rating, debts, and any potentially shared accounts. You may also want to discuss the financial obligations of each spouse in the marriage and after the marriage. For instance, will either spouse need to provide for the other in the event of a divorce?
Discuss Property Ownership
If you own any assets or property before the marriage, it will help to outline it as separate property. Remember that marital property may be shared between you and your spouse if you file for a divorce. You should also include details such as what may happen to your marital home during a divorce. For instance, if you have two houses, does each spouse keep one house, or would you sell both houses and share the proceeds?
Make It Legal
Once you have all the details you need for your prenup, you should put the contract in writing, and both parties should then sign the contract to make it legally binding. In Florida, you will need to sign the agreement in the presence of a notary and two witnesses for it to be legally binding. Each spouse should then keep a copy of the prenup.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will My Postnup Modify My Prenup?
If you have already signed a prenup before your marriage, chances are that you do not need a postnup. You and your spouse can easily amend your prenup to include any additional changes that you feel were left out in your prenup.
However, if your prenup did not have any guidelines for making amendments, you can revoke the entire contract and sign a postnup that includes all your rights, assets, and other financial details. The law requires a written contract signed by the couple for you to revoke a prenup.
Are Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements Binding?
Prenups and postnups are legally binding across most states. However, the court will consider the validity of the contracts based on whether the couple were in a valid and recognized marriage. What’s more, each spouse needs to have willingly signed the agreement.
The law requires that each party gets a chance to consult a lawyer before signing the prenup or postnup. If your prenuptial agreement does not meet these regulations, it may not be legally binding in Florida.
Can You Terminate a Prenuptial Agreement?
Yes, you can terminate a prenup or a postnup if both parties have a written agreement to end the contract. Some common reasons why couples terminate their prenuptial agreements are to add additional wealth, including their children in the prenup, and to give each other more rights to their wealth.
What If I do Not Have A Prenup?
Divorcing your spouse becomes more complicated in the absence of a prenup. For instance, you may lose your property to your ex-spouse. In Florida, the state decides how your wealth will be allocated during a divorce. It may also determine the amount of alimony you may have to pay your ex-spouse.
If your prenup clearly distinguished personal wealth from marital wealth, you may not have to worry about your ex-spouse receiving a share of your wealth.
Can My Prenup Outline Child Custody?
No. The court will decide anything to do with child custody or support. So you or your spouse cannot include your child custody preferences in your prenup or postnup. There are many factors that the court will consider while deciding child support, but your prenup is not one of them!
Contact Our Neptune Beach Prenuptial And Postnuptial Agreements Lawyer
Before marriage, you need to set your financial goals and boundaries. At Griffin Family Law, we can help you draft a valid prenup to protect you and your spouse.
Contact us today and speak to the best prenuptial and postnuptial agreement lawyer in Neptune Beach. Whether you are seeking a prenup ahead of your marriage or you and your spouse need a postnup, we can help you!