Prenuptial Agreements

Skilled Estate Planning Attorneys Serving Brevard County

Substantial amounts of time and money are spent dealing with the financial fallout of divorce. Couples that start out thinking they will be together forever may fight bitterly over assets, valuables, and real property. Florida is among the states with the highest divorce rates. Those with substantial property in Brevard County often obtain carefully drafted estate planning documents that govern the disposal of their assets upon death or divorce. At Cantwell & Goldman, our lawyers understand the nuances of this area of the law and know how to diligently represent your interests.

How Prospective Spouses Can Protect Their Property Rights

A prenuptial or premarital agreement is an arrangement between prospective spouses that becomes effective once the couple is married. It can cover present and future interests, both legal and equitable, in real or personal property, including earnings in intangible things such as a business owner's goodwill or intellectual property rights.

This state has adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which is codified under Florida Statutes section 61.079. A prenuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. Unlike other contracts, it can be enforced without any consideration beyond marriage. When planning a prenuptial agreement, the parties should consider the rights of each person to his or her items of property as well as rights to buy, sell, or otherwise transfer the property. They should think about what will happen to the property if the couple separates or gets a divorce, or if one or both parties dies.

Florida couples should also consider spousal support. When a modification to spousal support causes one of the parties to the agreement to be eligible for public assistance, the court can require the other party to provide support in spite of the agreement. In Florida, a premarital agreement can never take away or reduce the rights of a child or children to child support.

A prenuptial agreement can only be amended or abandoned by a written agreement signed by the spouses. The amendment can be enforced without any consideration.

A spouse can invalidate a prenuptial agreement by showing that he or she did not execute it voluntarily or that it was created because of fraud, coercion, duress, or overreaching. The agreement can also be invalidated by a spouse who can prove not only that it was unconscionable at the time of execution, but also that he or she:

  • Was not given a reasonable disclosure of the other spouse's obligations or property before signing the agreement;
  • Did not expressly waive in writing his or her right to that disclosure; and
  • Did not have or could not have had an adequate understanding of the other spouse's obligations or property.

Lawyers Helping Cocoa Residents Protect Their Assets

Considering financial rights and obligations after divorce can feel like a cynical step to those who are in love and hoping for a lifelong relationship. However, people who plan to get married after accumulating wealth, either later in life or due to inheritance, are better off preparing for the worst, even if it is uncomfortable. Those who are engaged to somebody who asks him or her to sign a prenuptial agreement should consult an attorney to make sure that they understand what the document entails. For example, if you plan to take time away from a career to take care of kids or make a home because your spouse is much wealthier than you, you may want to make sure that the agreement establishes more spousal support than what Florida law provides. If you want to protect your hard-earned assets with a prenuptial agreement, or you need help reviewing a document that your prospective spouse has asked you to sign, the Cocoa attorneys of Cantwell & Goldman can help. Contact us at 866-583-9129 or via our online form.