This is the next post in my series of articles discussing prenuptial agreements in Melbourne, Florida. The previous article provided an overview of the key issues to be covered in this series. It also stressed the importance of hiring a family law attorney experienced in preparing and litigating prenuptial agreements. In this article, I will provide a general explanation of Florida law on marital property and how prenuptial agreements interact with those rules. Given the potential impact that a premarital contract may have on your future finances, I cannot overemphasize the importance of consulting with an attorney. If you are considering signing a prenuptial agreement, contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
When a couple gets married in Florida, assets and debts that the couple accumulates during the marriage are considered marital property, or shared between the two spouses. If the couple decides to get a divorce in the future, Florida courts will attempt to divide marital property equitably amongst the two. This not only applies to obvious items such as cars, real estate, jewelry, credit card debt, and home loans, but it also applies to wages earned by each spouse. Certain types of property owned by a spouse prior to the marriage may remain the sole property of that person by law. Other assets, such as money held in a bank account, may be co-mingled with the other spouse’s money, and be considered marital property.
A prenuptial agreement is a contract signed prior to the marriage that identifies specific assets or liabilities of either spouse and prevents such items from becoming marital property. In other words, when properly identified in the prenuptial agreement, the property would not be subject to division by a court in a divorce proceeding. Premarital contracts can be as broad or as narrow as the parties desire, so long as they meet the enforceability requirements (to be discussed further in a later post). For example, a couple could enter a prenuptial agreement for the sole purpose of protecting a house owned by the wife, in which the parties intend to live after the marriage. Upon their divorce, the court would exclude the asset from those being divided in the proceeding. On the other hand, the agreement could state that the parties intend for all financial accounts owned individually by either prior to the marriage remain separate property and that the parties waive all rights to seek support in a future divorce proceeding. In either case, carefully drafting an enforceable prenuptial agreement will be important to both parties to protect their respective interests. A knowledgeable attorney can assist in the preparation and review of the document on your behalf.
If you are getting married and considering a prenuptial agreement, contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne lawyer. My office represents clients in the cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.