At one time, prenuptial agreements were regarded as a formality, and an insulting one at that. Today, however, they are becoming the norm, especially for couples with high net worth.
In a prenuptial agreement, you and your future spouse disclose and itemize all the assets you own prior to getting married, your liabilities, and your income and then agree on how any money and property will be handled during the marriage and divided in the event that the marriage ends in a divorce. The agreement can also have the added benefit of limiting disclosures in the event of a divorce only to those involving assets subject to equitable distribution. In general, these agreements are valid and enforceable as long as both partners enter into them voluntarily, asset disclosure is complete, and the terms are fair to both sides. They may also deliver benefits that give you peace of mind and set the stage for a stronger marriage. It is important to understand that these agreements cannot address child custody or child support, which are always left to the sound discretion of the judge.
Benefit #1: Improved Communications
Good marriages require strong communication ability, but so many couples have difficulty discussing certain matters, including finances. By sitting down together and establishing a prenuptial agreement, you and your partner will become more open with one another by necessity. This can lead to an improved communication pattern that reduces the possibility of future conflicts and tensions.
Benefit #2: Financial Accord
Drafting a prenuptial agreement will give you and your partner the chance to discuss important marital issues such as property and finances up front. You can decide whether real estate and investments will be jointly owned or in one person’s name only, and how joint and separate bank accounts will be handled.
Money is a regular source of stress and disharmony among couples, even those with a high net worth, so addressing financial issues in a prenuptial agreement helps establish mutually acceptable terms and get rid of unrealistic expectations. In that sense, prenups can reduce the possibility of a couple divorcing over financial disagreements.
Benefit #3: Protect a Family Business
A contentious divorce can destroy your business. The moment your angry spouse decides to make things as difficult for you as possible, the future of the company is on the line. Also at risk is the livelihoods of your employees and any vendors who rely on you for a high percentage of their income.
Florida is an equitable distribution state, so if you started the business while single and its value grew significantly during the marriage, the appreciated value will be treated as an asset during the divorce. If you don’t have any property of equal value to offer your spouse as their share of the higher business value, it may have to be sold so that your spouse can be paid. A prenuptial agreement can save you a lot of unnecessary time and expense by specifying how the business will be treated if the marriage ends in divorce.
Speak to a Florida Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Today
Divorces involving individuals with high net worth can be more complicated than most, which is why you should retain a Florida family law attorney with experience in representing business owners, public figures, and other higher-income clients. Your attorney can help you draft a legally valid prenup that can preserve your wealth if the relationship doesn’t turn out to be forever. Do not despair if you married without a prenuptial agreement, as we can also assist with the drafting of postnuptial agreements. To schedule a consultation with an attorney at the Divorce & Mediation Law Firm, call (954)-447-2580.