How Do Prenuptial Agreements Work In Port St. Lucie?
Responsible homeowners always purchase insurance. Although they do not expect the house to burn down, and they certainly do not hope the house burns down, they want to be prepared for the unexpected.
A prenuptial agreement is basically the same thing. No couple expects or hopes to get a divorce. But if the unexpected happens, they want to be prepared for the unexpected.
The advent of uniform laws, such as the Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act, has ushered in big changes. Judges in different parts of Florida now use the same standard to evaluate these agreements. Furthermore, the same rules apply in most other UPMAA jurisdictions as well.
Making and Breaking Premarital Agreements in Port St. Lucie
Under the UPMAA and other laws, marital property agreements may cover a wide range of topics. Some highlights include:
- Financial Matters: Many couples include spousal support caps in their premarital agreements. Others include language regarding specific property divisions (g. Husband gets the rent house and Wife gets the boat) or an overall percentage division.
- Succession and Inheritance: In this area of law, a divorce is the legal equivalent of a death. Many times, a person may want children of a prior marriage to remain in this picture. A premarital agreement can accomplish this objective, especially if it’s combined with trusts and other executory documents.
Child custody and child support agreements are off-limits in this area. These decisions consider only the best interests of the children, and not the best interests of the parents.
Aside from items that are against public policy, Florida law has a strong presumption in favor of family law agreements. Judges almost always approve these pacts whenever possible. That same spirit is in the UPMAA. So , it is difficult, but not impossible, to overturn a premarital agreement in Port St. Lucie. The two major grounds are:
- Involuntary: In this context, an agreement is involuntary if the challenging party did not have all necessary information. In other words, the person did not fully understand what s/he signed. The challenging party must normally prove that the omitted information was material and inaccessible from any other source.
- Unconscionable: For starters, “unconscionable” is not synonymous with “uneven.” The former is much worse than the latter. Moreover, the agreement must have been unconscionable at the time it was made.
Most Florida prenuptial agreements have severability clauses. So, if one part is invalid, the remainder survives.
How It Works
Frank and Jamie McCourt, a wealthy California couple, owned the Los Angeles Dodgers in the early and mid 2000s. At that time, the team had many financial problems. The club declared bankruptcy in 2011.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the McCourts were going through a divorce at about that same time. In a property agreement, Jamie gave up her half of the team in exchange for about $180 million in cash and property. At the time, it seemed like Jamie got the better end of the deal. After all, the Dodgers were literally broke.
But a few years later, Frank sold the revitalized Dodgers for over $2 billion. Jamie went to court and asked the judge to overturn the property agreement. She argued that Frank withheld important financial documents (involuntary) and that she was $900 million short of a 50-50 division (unconscionable).
The judge left the agreement intact. According to the judgement, Jamie was still a co-owner of the team at the time. So, she had access to all the data she wanted. Furthermore, the agreement was not unconscionable when it was made. “Jamie simply chose the security of a guaranteed $131 million payment, plus more than $50 million in real and personal property, over the uncertainty and risk presented by the valuation and sale of the Dodger assets,” the court concluded.
California and Florida are both UPMAA states, so the outcome would have been roughly the same in either place.
Rely on Assertive Lawyers
It’s very important to protect your legal and financial rights before and during a divorce. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. After-hours appointments are available.