In cases where one partner has significantly more assets than another, it is common for them to decide to sign a pre-nuptial agreement prior to marriage. If they elect to not have a document drawn up before marriage, they may later decide it is a good idea and sign one after marriage which is the same type of agreement but is called a post-nuptial agreement.
Why sign an agreement?
Pre and post nuptial agreements are designed to protect both spouses in the event of a divorce later in life. These agreements can spell out certain conditions including:
- Ongoing alimony payments – within reason, a couple may elect to set a specific amount for alimony payments in the event of divorce. Keep in mind, the court will determine, if necessary, whether the amount is sensible. If one person has stayed at home their entire life and the other spouse has a very high income, the court may not approve a low payment amount.
- Physical property division – property that is intended for one partner’s child or to be handled by their estate can be defined in an agreement. Oftentimes these agreements are used when one partner has a previous marriage and wishes to protect the children of the marriage.
- Other assets – bank accounts, life insurance policies and other assets are often divided up through a pre or post-nuptial agreement.
Enforceability of an agreement
Pre-nuptial agreements are only enforceable if a couple actually marries. There are very few cases where agreements would be considered invalid but some instances where an agreement may be disputed include:
- Coercion or duress – the parties to the agreement must not be coerced or threatened to ensure they will sign the agreement.
- Agreement was set aside – an agreement may be invalidated if the parties set aside the agreement in writing after the time it was executed.
- Fraud – if one partner failed to disclose their true assets prior to the signing of an agreement, there may be grounds to invalidate the entire agreement.
If you are considering marriage and wish to protect assets you are bringing into the marriage or if you are married and considering an agreement to help protect you and your children in the future, contact Kinnear Smith PA for assistance in preparing pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements in Florida. In addition, if your partner is asking you to sign a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement, we will be happy to review the document on your behalf before you sign it. Remember, in order to be enforceable, these agreements must be in writing and properly signed by both parties.