Prenuptial agreements growing trend among millennials

When a marriage ends, one of the most difficult tasks is deciding how to divide marital assets. In the past, the majority of couples would choose to pool their assets once they married in order to meet their shared goals as a couple. However, younger couples are electing to keep assets separate in the hope of avoiding the difficulty of dividing them. In reality, one of the best ways for Florida residents about to marry to protect their assets is to enter into prenuptial agreements.

According to recent financial surveys, spouses are seeking to avoid the animosity of property division negotiations by choosing to deposit their individual assets into separate accounts in addition to a joint household account when marrying. Unfortunately, this does not guarantee that assets will be considered separate should the marriage end. Likewise, keeping property in just one name also will not prevent such property from being declared marital property in a divorce. 

For couples who are each financially independent, simply keeping finances and property separate may be enough to ensure that each partner will retain the majority of their assets in a divorce. However, when only one spouse works outside the home, settlement negotiations may quickly become complicated. According to financial professionals, the best way to avoid contentious discussions is to have a prenuptial agreement.

Reportedly, millennials are more inclined to consider the merits of prenuptial agreements as a way to combat the financial landmines that often occur during a divorce. These marriage contracts also promote healthy discussions about finances that may enable the couple to avoid future problems. Furthermore, these contracts can be revised if circumstances warrant. Florida residents contemplating marriage may benefit from seeking the guidance of an experienced family law attorney who can help draft a contract that fits the client’s particular needs. 

Love may be blind, but prenuptial agreements offer protection

Sometimes, people find themselves in a relationship with someone who is caught in financial or legal difficulties. As tempting as it may be to dismiss these serious problems, they could have a negative financial impact. Florida residents who want to protect themselves from a negative fallout in the event of a divorce may benefit from prenuptial agreements.

The decision to marry is not one that is usually made in haste. However, there are times when it pays to be even more cautious before entering into a marital relationship. If one of the intended spouses is facing serious problems, it is worth the time to discuss the issues and seek professional advice before exchanging marriage vows. It is recommended that partners share such financial information in credit reports in order to gauge the financial decision-making of an intended spouse.

If a marriage is a viable option, partners are encouraged to consult with legal professionals who can assess the risk that each could face in the future. Openly discussing the matter helps in making informed decisions. Likewise, knowledge of the possible ramifications can enable the parties to draft a prenuptial agreement that will provide the best protection in a divorce. 

Florida is an equitable division state, meaning if the parties cannot agree on a settlement, the court will decide what each spouse will receive. If there are legal problems, this may further complicate the division of assets and debt. Obtaining legal advice is one way of ensuring that one partner’s problem does not become a major financial headache for both parties.

While an estate planning professional can draft valid prenuptial agreements, it is beneficial to have one prepared by an experienced family law attorney. An attorney who is skilled in understanding how legal and financial issues complicate a divorce may be the best individual to prepare a contract that affords the best protection. Though love can be blind, a well-constructed prenup helps prevent tunnel vision.

Terms of prenuptial agreements can be disputed in some divorces

Celebrities may try to protect both their privacy and their financial well-being through marital contracts and other means, though these may both be under attack in the event of a divorce trial. Prenuptial agreements are intended to establish property division if a relationship ends, and to that end, each party is urged to obtain separate legal counsel to ensure they are protected. Florida residents who enter a prenuptial contract are encouraged to ensure that all terms are carefully spelled out and agreed to by both partners.

Actor Robert DeNiro and his wife, Grace Hightower, are battling through their second divorce. When they decided to give marriage another try, they signed a prenuptial agreement in 2004. It  detailed how Hightower would be compensated in a divorce. In spite of this agreement, she and her attorneys are now disputing the fairness of the terms.

Purportedly, DeNiro has an approximate net worth of $500,000,000, which was generated from his film career and his various business holdings. The prenup dictated that Hightower would be entitled to a cash settlement of $500,000, an apartment valued at $6 million and alimony totalling $1 million annually. In addition, she would split the value of a second apartment. Her attorneys are arguing that, based on DeNiro’s net worth, his former wife is entitled to half of the actor’s earnings since their marriage commenced in 2004.

DeNiro’s lawyer has asked the court to affirm the terms of the couple’s existing prenup. Along with the battle over the actor’s wealth, they are fighting over custody of their youngest child. Florida residents may have concerns about the possibility their prenuptial agreements would be challenged during a heated divorce. In order to ensure that these contracts are validated by a court, the assistance of a skilled attorney may be invaluable in ensuring that the terms are clearly stated and comply with state laws, and that both parties fully understand and agree to the terms.

Prenuptial agreements provide protection in unusual situations

For many engaged couples — especially those who are older or own considerable assets — the wedding plans are not complete without certain legal contracts. Prenuptial agreements can ensure that assets are not only protected, but that a spouse will not be treated unfairly in a divorce. No matter the circumstances that may have led to the end of a marriage, these contracts can provide Florida residents with peace of mind if the marriage comes to an end.

Recently, during one high-profile divorce hearing, a judge determined that an existing prenup would be upheld. According to the report, this particular divorce between a newspaper publisher and his wife has been ongoing since 2017. When the couple married in 2010, the prenuptial agreement stipulated that the wife would receive approximately $900,000 if the pair divorced. The husband, Joseph Soldwedel, not only asked the judge to rule that the prenup was invalid but also requested that the marriage be annulled.

Soldwedel has accused his wife of seeking to marry him only for his wealth. He has further alleged that she attempted to poison him. The former Mrs. Soldwedel denied the accusations. Law enforcement purportedly conducted an investigation into the allegations and found no evidence of a crime, thereby clearing her of any suspicions.

The Arizona judge determined that the prenup was a valid document. There were no further details in connection with these unusual divorce proceedings. Anytime there are considerable assets at stake, former spouses may believe they have to prepare for unpleasant litigation proceedings. In order to avoid a bitter dissolution, Florida residents may choose to draft prenuptial agreements that can provide protection for both parties regardless of the circumstances. An attorney who is well-versed in both property laws and marriage contracts can help prepare the best documents to fit one’s unique needs.

Prenuptial agreements validity questioned in contested divorces

Years ago, only those with a family legacy were inclined to enter into marital contracts. More recently, more Florida couples are electing to draft prenuptial agreements so that they are in agreement over how to divide property in a divorce. However, there are times these contracts are contested, especially during a contentious divorce.

In 2000, Natalie Maines, known as the lead singer for the Dixie Chicks, married actor Adrian Pasdar. The couple signed a prenup that stipulated property division if their marriage ended. Unfortunately, the couple did eventually file for a divorce, but Pasdar is now contesting the terms of the agreement. According to Pasdar, the terms of the previous agreement would leave him in an impoverished state and unable to meet his expenses and provide for the couple’s children.

According to Pasdar’s argument, his monthly income of $150,000 is inadequate and that he is over $200,000 in debt. He is requesting an estimated $60,500 monthly in both spousal and child support. In addition, he has requested that the singer pay approximately $350,000 for his accumulated legal fees. He has alleged that Maines has more than $50 million in assets and cash and that she is expected to make millions more after the release of her solo album and subsequent tour.

Maines asked the court to uphold the couple’s prenup. She stated that the contract would speed up the divorce proceedings as both parties signed the agreement willingly at the time. It is unclear whether the court will grant any of Pasdar’s request. Florida residents who wish to protect their personal assets during a divorce and are concerned that the validity of their prenuptial agreements will be called into question may benefit from consulting with an experienced attorney who can ensure that their contracts are well drafted and that both parties are in agreement over the terms.

Prenuptial agreements common but some conditions are questionable

It is not unusual for engaged couples to choose to enter into a marital contract before exchanging their vows. However, while prenuptial agreements are useful for ensuring that both parties are in agreement over how to handle the division of assets in the event of a divorce, there may be some individuals who attempt to include questionable conditions. Florida residents who are considering drafting these agreements are each urged to seek the input of separate legal professionals.

Recently, one woman shared her concerns over several clauses that her fiancé included in the drafting of their prenup. One of those conditions stated that if the couple has a child, the mother is required to lose at least 30 pounds of any weight she gained during the pregnancy within one year of giving birth. Along with this unusual stipulation, the agreement included a clause that states if the woman engages in an extramarital affair, she will not be entitled to any marital assets.

Lastly, the woman mentioned a clause that would include compensation for bearing children. The bride-to-be claimed that the contract was drafted by her future father-in-law, who is an attorney. The woman has been advised to contact an attorney of her own who can ensure that her interests are protected in the event of a divorce.

Prenuptial agreements can provide peace of mind to those who are concerned about how a future divorce could impact their financial security. However, conditions or clauses that attempt to dictate behaviors may be unenforceable by a family court judge. Florida residents who desire the security that these contracts can provide but are worried about certain aspects within the contract are urged to consult with a legal professional of their own who can ensure that an agreement protects one’s financial interests.

Prenuptial agreements can benefit anyone planning to marry

Though the majority of engaged couples are likely not planning to divorce, a large percentage of marriages will not survive. The topic of a marital contract may seem unromantic, but prenuptial agreements provide peace of mind. Even if many Florida residents do not think they will need a prenup, the security they can provide makes them worthwhile. 

Given a scenario involving an individual expecting a future inheritance and a broke but enterprising business owner who invested personal assets into a fledgling company, it may appear as if the first would be more in need of a prenup, especially if the inheritance is not kept separate from the marital assets. However, both parties could use the protection these contracts provide. If the first individual currently lives in a state that has laws protecting separate assets, then he or she would likely not need to rely on such a prenup. On the other hand, if he or she moves to another state, then an existing prenup can provide protection.

For the second individual, if a business is started after a marriage commences, barring the existence of a marital contract, the business’ assets are considered marital property in a divorce. Regardless of one’s financial standing at the time of the wedding, a prenup can ensure that each spouse is protected in a divorce. Furthermore, prenuptial agreements can also provide a safety measure for those who are concerned about the welfare of adult children from a previous marriage.

A prenup can enable a spouse to waive inheritance rights that could prevent these offspring from receiving a portion of their inheritance in the case a marriage ends in the death of a spouse. In reality, almost any engaged couple may benefit from having a premarital contract. The discussion over how assets will be divided in the event of a divorce may even benefit their relationship. Florida residents who are interested in drafting prenuptial agreements may consult with an experienced attorney.

Tips on having conversations about prenuptial agreements

No one is dreaming about a divorce on their wedding day. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever, and whether a marriage ends in divorce or death, it will eventually end. Florida residents who are concerned about their financial security when that happens may need the protections offered by prenuptial agreements.

The idea of bringing up the topic of a prenup may feel like the perfect way to damage a fledgling relationship. However, family law professionals suggest that this is a conversation that should happen early in the relationship. If one is worried how a partner will react, it may help to bring it up in a casual manner, such as avoiding a nightmare dissolution that a friend or relative may have endured. In addition, it may be helpful to stress how much conflict these contracts can alleviate, since the major issues concerning finances will be addressed ahead of time.

Gently reminding a future spouse about the unavoidable end of a marriage, either through death or a divorce, may allow the other person to consider what would happen at that time. It is suggested that the one initiating the conversation discuss the importance of ensuring that each partner is treated fairly and with respect, as this may allow for a greater understanding. Professionals recommend that the partners play an equal role in drafting these agreements so that each one is represented as fairly as possible.

Though it may feel as if the wealthier partner is attempting to safeguard his or her assets, thoughtfully drafted prenuptial agreements can provide the lesser earning spouse with a measure of financial security. It may help both parties to keep in mind that the creation of these contracts is to ensure the welfare of the other party, which will result in a document that should protect both interests. Florida residents who desire assistance in drafting a prenup tailored to their needs may elect to consult with an experienced attorney.

Prenuptial agreements can be valuable tool for a ‘gray’ marriage

Though the overall divorce rate is declining, that is not true for those aged 50 and older. The divorce rate for older couples has increased significantly and is referred to as a ‘gray’ divorce. In Florida and elsewhere, many of these divorced individuals are choosing to remarry, and many may benefit from signing prenuptial agreements before walking down the aisle gain. 

Those who remarry later in life have unique concerns. Retirement needs and ensuring that both their new spouse — as well as their children from a previous marriage — will be cared for after they are gone are likely their primary concerns. A well-drafted prenup can ease these worries while allowing for an easier blending of the two families once the financial aspects have been addressed.

One of the first issues that can be addressed with a ‘gray’ prenup is how to handle specific retirement accounts and how and to whom the funds may be disbursed. If a couple feels that they do not need all of the accounts that they hold, they may designate which ones will be directed toward their children when the time comes. Furthermore, with the escalating costs of skilled nursing care, spouses may wish to purchase specialized insurance that can offset the cost of care without draining either their individual estates or joint assets.

Without the protection afforded by prenuptial agreements, changes in estate plans can create problems. As a couple works together to decide what to include in a prenup, they may find that other accounts, such as life insurance policies, need to be updated with current beneficiaries. Florida residents who are preparing to marry may benefit from seeking the advice of an attorney who can guide them in preparing a prenuptial agreement that will best meet their needs.

Well-written prenuptial agreements fulfill multiple purposes

A couple need not be a celebrity or come from a wealthy family in order to employ a marital contract before exchanging their vows. While there may be a few engaged Florida residents who will not necessarily need prenuptial agreements, chances are that more couples would benefit from having a well-drafted contract in place. There are likely many couples who could derive peace of mind from a prenup if a marriage does not survive.

It is recommended that older couples and those with children from a previous relationship have a prenup in order to protect the rights of their children or those of an aging or ailing spouse. If either or both spouses have ownership in a business or hold a professional license, these contracts provide much needed protection during a divorce settlement. Likewise, if either spouse is involved in the public or entertainment sector, then these contracts can prove to be a means of preserving one’s reputation and resources. Furthermore, these contracts can ensure that a wealthier spouse can shield his or her assets while providing for the other in an equitable manner.

Once a couple decides a prenup fits their needs, there are protocols that must be followed. The first is full disclosure of all assets, and each party is required to have separate legal counsel to ensure that the contract will be as fair as possible. It is recommended that these contracts be as simple and straight forward as possible. Contracts that stick to how to divide marital assets and related legal issues are more likely to be accepted by the courts.

Couples can begin the process of preparing prenuptial agreements by discussing how to manage their expenses, retirement assets and marital income. Maintaining separate assets may facilitate the divorce process should the relationship end. An attorney who is well-versed in these agreements as well as Florida’s divorce laws can provide sound guidance in drafting a suitable contract.