“One thing that makes it possible to be an optimist, is if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose. There are a lot of things I don’t worry about, because I have a plan in place if they do.”
— Randy Pausch
PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS / POSTNUPTIAL AGREEMENTS
Prenuptial agreements (entered into prior to getting married) and postnuptial agreements (entered into after getting married) are contracts enumerating how issues like equitable distribution and spousal support are determined upon divorce. The agreements are precise and exhaustive to reduce litigation over ambiguity and to limit judicial intervention. Whether a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement is valid and enforceable depends on the contract’s compliance with Florida law. The Law Offices of Osman Lopez, P.A. encourages this protective measure and is prepared to draft your agreement today. A prenuptial agreement is a contract signed before marriage, which is used to determine each party’s interest in the event of a divorce. A postnuptial agreement is a contract signed while already married, which dictates what will occur in the event of a divorce. These contracts are designed to be exceptionally specific to avoid any confusion or ambiguity in the event of litigation. Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements will almost always lessen the expense of litigation. Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements will also expedite divorce proceedings. Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements control and limit the issues to be decided before a Judge. However, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements must be drafted pursuant to and in compliance with Florida law to be considered valid and enforceable. Florida law states that a prenuptial agreement can be set aside (void) if the parties engaged in any fraud, coercion, or duress. Florida law also considers factors like fairness and financial disclosures to determine an agreement’s validity and enforceability. A common misconception about prenuptial agreements is that they only serve to protect rich people. This is false. Prenuptial agreements protect and separate everything you bring into a marriage from everything you make during a marriage. It is common for spouses to comingle (mix up/combine) their marital and non-marital assets and liabilities (debts). However, if the spouses later file for divorce, that comingled property has to be traced and divided, which is difficult and expensive—unless you have an agreement to reference!
Other issues prenuptial and postnuptial agreements may govern –
A child(ren)’s inheritance in the event that one of the spouse’s remarries;
How much alimony / spousal support (if any) will be provided in the event of a divorce, and for how long;
Who must vacate the marital home and how quickly;
Who will keep possession over family pets; and
What religion/faith a child(ren) will practice.
This is not an exhaustive list as every prenuptial and postnuptial agreement has unique issues specific to the parties involved. Attorney Osman Lopez has prepared prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements for clients seeking protective measures. Attorney Osman Lopez has also represented clients who need to litigate condition(s) of their agreements. Whether you want to draft an agreement to prevent future litigation or whether you need to dispute existing sections of your agreement, The Law Offices of Osman Lopez, P.A. can help.