A different take on prenuptial agreements

A great many articles focus on the need to secure a prenup prior to walking down the aisle. These pieces are usually written from the perspective of the more moneyed partner, who is looking to shield his or her wealth from loss due to a Florida divorce. This is an understandable approach, but in many cases the application of prenuptial agreements is somewhat heavy-handed. The party who comes into the relationship with fewer assets should gain his or her own legal counsel to make sure that the document is fair and balanced.

For example, business interests are often among the most common reasons for seeking a prenup. However, even if one party enters into marriage with a business already in place, that is not to say that his or her spouse will not make significant contributions to that business as the marriage moves forward. If he or she signed a prenup that excludes any and all business assets from the property division portion of a divorce, then that spouse could be unfairly excluded from wealth that he or she played a role in creating.

A more balanced approach would be to gain a professional estimation of the value of the business at the time a prenup is drafted. That would allow the business owner to designate a dollar amount that would be protected from loss during a divorce. Any increase in value over the years would become subject to the rules of property division, giving the other spouse a chance to share in the increased worth that he or she helped to create. This approach would effectively protect the business owner from losses based on a very short marriage, due to the fact that the value of the business is unlikely to experience substantial gains in such a short period of time.

Prenuptial agreements are becoming more and more common, and being asked to sign one should not be a cause for concern. However, both parties should take the time to obtain legal advice on the provisions spelled out within the document, and should be aware that negotiation is always an option. No one should sign an agreement that would effectively strip them of the rights they are entitled to by Florida law.

Source: The Huffington Post, “5 Reasons For a Prenup–Even if You Aren’t a Celebrity“, Kyung Dickerson, June 24, 2016

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