Prior to marriage, couples might want to have a prenuptial agreement in place to handle the various financial details that can arise in a divorce. Merely understanding what prenuptial agreements are, however, is not enough. Couples who are about to be married must also understand the importance of the agreement and how it can be enforced so that in the event the agreement is tested in a court of law, it will stand up. It is critical to understand that prenuptial agreements cannot be presented at the last minute and must be reviewed by attorneys who decide whether the agreements are agreeable to all involved parties.
Requirements of a Prenuptial Agreement
There are certain elements that must exist in prenuptial agreements for these documents to be considered lawful. The various terms in a prenuptial agreement must be based on fact and cannot attempt to distorted or fail to omit information to make the prenuptial agreement appear like a better arrangement for the other spouse.
All of the elements in the prenuptial agreement must also be legal, which some important elements related to marriage including child support cannot be included in these agreements. Because even one valid clause in a prenuptial agreement has the potential to render the entire agreement invalid, it is essential that the entirety of the agreement be reviewed by Florida law. It is also important to understand that prenuptial agreements cannot be signed under duress, which can also result in the agreements being declared invalid.
Some of the most common elements of prenuptial agreements include the following:
- Designation of each spouse’s property and the decision whether that property will be viewed as marital or nonmarital.
- The division of property and assets during a marriage.
- Estate planning elements.
- Responsibility for liabilities associated with a marriage.
- Selections about what law will apply to decisions regarding a marriage.
Signs that a Prenuptial Agreement Is Not Enforceable
Because prenuptial agreements have the potential to be declared, not enforceable in the event that any unfair terms are contained in the agreement, it is important to be alert to any signs that a prenuptial agreement contains unfair terms. Some of these signs include the following:
- Too few provisions for a spouse in a prenuptial agreement, this likely means that the other spouse is attempting to conceal or not fully disclose all important elements about the divorce.
- A potential spouse’s parents might attempt to control the terms of a prenup. Cases where a parent dictates the terms of a prenuptial agreement suggest that a parent might be controlling the terms of a prenuptial agreement.
- If the prenuptial agreement creates friction between spouses or fails to establish an adequate foundation for marriage, it might be a wise idea to avoid entering a prenuptial agreement.
- Prenuptial agreements should be avoided if there are not too many terms in the agreement for the other spouse, this is likely a sign that there is a lack of consideration in the agreement.
Situations in Which a Prenuptial Agreement Is Not Enforceable
Florida courts are reluctant to set aside efforts by individuals to invalidate prenuptial agreements. There are certain situations in which prenuptial agreements are likely to be declared invalid. Courts consistently refuse to acknowledge that regret or remorse is not a strong enough reason to make a prenuptial agreement invalid. Some of the most common reasons why courts declare prenuptial agreements invalid include the following:
- If spouses disagree about the terms of an agreement at the time of signing.
- In the event that the ex-spouse failed to sign the prenuptial agreement voluntarily, the agreement is likely to be declared invalid.
- The other spouse lied about their assets, attempted to conceal their earnings, or made any type of statement about their assets that turned out to be false.
- A person signed a prenuptial agreement as the result of threats or acts of violence.
- A person takes advantage of a prenuptial agreement through fraud or any other act of unconscionable conduct.
- The court finds a prenuptial agreement unfair or unreasonable in nature.
- Parties failed to disclose all of the important details about a prenuptial agreement which most often extends to issues about assets and debt.
Consult with a Knowledgeable Family Law Attorney
The legal counsel at the Judy Ann Smith Law Firm strives to assist clients in obtaining customized strategies and achieving their goals. Do not hesitate to contact our law office today by calling (904) 562 – 1369 or emailing our office at email@example.com. Our legal counsel understands the importance of your case and will begin taking steps today to make sure that your case resolves in a positive manner.