Regardless of their level of wealth, any couple intending to marry may benefit from pre-marital contracts that are meant to safeguard loved ones or those assets not intended for division in the event of a divorce. When couples decide that prenuptial agreements may play an important role in protecting certain assets, it is helpful to ensure that these documents are correctly written. Florida residents may be surprised to learn that there are times when divorce courts may not enforce an existing agreement.
In order for the courts to enforce an existing agreement, it is vital that both parties are fully aware of all of the assets that may be included. If it is determined that one partner attempted to conceal certain assets from the other, or failed to fully disclose all assets, then a court may find that the document is invalid. Other factors that may make these documents useless include coercing a spouse to sign or if either party does not read fully read or understand the document.
In addition, if a prenup contains provisions that would be grossly unfair to the other party or if either spouse did not retain his or her own legal advisor, then the agreement may not be upheld. Likewise, if the contract deliberately attempts to leave a former spouse without financial support or intends to circumnavigate state laws, then a judge will most likely overrule the contract. Lastly, if the contract is not a recognized legal contract, then it will not be considered a valid document.
In most circumstances, couples will draft prenuptial agreements in an effort to safeguard certain family assets or to provide resources for children from a previous relationship. Couples do not need to have numerous assets in order to seek the protections these documents can provide. Florida residents who are interested in drafting these types of contracts would benefit from seeking guidance from an experienced family law attorney.
Source: Forbes, "How To 'Bust' Prenuptial Agreements", Russ Alan Prince, April 4, 2018