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What You Need To Know About Premarital Agreements In Florida

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Money is one of the biggest sources of friction in any relationship. That’s especially true in subsequent marriages. These couples usually have significant non-marital assets. These individuals often have significant non-marital debt as well. So, either extra money or a lack of money could be a problem.

A premarital agreement completely removes money from the equation. Finances never have a chance to cause problems. So, far from being “divorce insurance,” a Florida premarital agreement puts your marriage on a stronger footing.

Making a Premarital Agreement in Port St. Lucie

Financial matters like the ones mentioned above dominate most Florida prenuptial agreements. Under the Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act, these contracts can cover a wide range of financial topics, including:

  • Confirmation of Non-Marital Property: Commingled property leads to very costly divorce litigation. Commingling occurs when marital and non-marital property are mixed. For example, Husband might use a wedding gift from his parents to fix up a rental house Wife owned before the marriage. In this example, a prenup could designate the house as one or the other.
  • Alimony Caps: Typically, limits on both the amount and duration of payments are acceptable under the UPMAA. In some cases, the elimination of alimony might be a possibility as well.
  • Division of Marital Property: Similarly, the division does not have to be 50-50. As long as the agreement does not fail for one of the reasons mentioned below, a 60-40 or even a 70-30 split would probably be okay.

Premarital agreements can cover non-financial matters as well. In subsequent marriages, inheritance and succession matters often cause many disputes. These agreements can eliminate these disagreements by drawing clear lines.

Challenging a Premarital Agreement in Port St. Lucie

There is a strong presumption in family law in favor of agreements between the spouses. That presumption applies to Florida prenuptial agreements. Under the UMPAA, these agreements are invalid only if one of the following applies:

  • Involuntary: Usually, “involuntariness” does not mean undue pressure. There is almost always at least some pressure to sign a premarital agreement. Instead, an agreement is involuntary if one spouse withheld key information. The challenging spouse must also establish that the withheld information was unavailable from any other source.
  • Unconscionable: The aforementioned 60-40 and 70-30 splits are uneven, but not necessarily unconscionable. Furthermore, the agreement must have been unconscionable when it was made. Subsequent events are not relevant.

Most Florida prenuptial agreements have severability clauses. If one part is declared invalid, the rest remains in effect.

To understand how all this works, consider the example of the former Los Angeles Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt. In 2011, the Dodgers were in bankruptcy court and the McCourts were in divorce court. Since the team was essentially worthless, Jamie gave Frank her half of the club in exchange for about $200 million.

A few years later, Frank sold the team for over $2 billion. Jamie tried to overturn the property agreement. But the court ruled that the agreement was not involuntary. Even if Frank withheld information, which was dubious, the court noted that Jamie co-owned the team at the time. Furthermore, the agreement was not unconscionable when it was made.

California and Florida are both UPMAA states. SO, the outcome would have been about the same in either jurisdiction.

Reach Out to Experienced Lawyers

A premarital agreement is basically marriage security. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We routinely handle cases all throughout the Treasure Coast.

Resource:

uniformlaws.org/shared/docs/premarital%20and%20marital%20agreements/2012_pmaa_final.pdf

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