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Prenuptial Agreements Enable You to Make Your Own Rules


When a new employer presents you with an employment contract, your eyes immediately skip to the part about how much money you get and all the meals, plane tickets, and hotel rooms your employer will pay for.  From a legal perspective, though, the most important sentence in the contract is, “The laws of Florida have jurisdiction to rule on disputes arising from this contract.”  In a prenuptial agreement, you should also indicate the “choice of laws” regarding which laws the divorce court should follow when applying the terms of the prenuptial agreement in the event of a divorce.  Signing a prenup does not increase the likelihood that your marriage will end in divorce, nor does it increase the likelihood that you will move to Florida during your marriage.  It is, however, a legally binding agreement.  You get to decide which assets are your separate property in a prenuptial agreement, and a Boca Raton prenuptial and postnuptial agreement lawyer can help you with the legal formalities.

A Prenup Can Require the Court to Follow a Florida Court to Follow the Laws of Someplace Else

Quebec looms larger in the minds of South Floridians than it does of most residents of the Sun Belt.  In the winter months, pastel-colored beachfront motels fill with seniors who add their Quebecois French to the multilingual polyphony of South Florida, but by the time hurricane season comes around, there is no trace of them.  A thought might occasionally pass through our minds that they must be eating poutine up there in their summer quarters while we run for cover every afternoon as the deadly lightning storms approach, Floridians probably don’t think too much about the family law code of Quebec.

Last year, Palm Beach County judges became intimately familiar with the family laws of Quebec.  In Florida, equitable distribution is the law of the land, but when a couple marries in Quebec, they get to choose which set of rules will govern their property during the marriage and in the event of a divorce.  If it is a “family patrimony” marriage, then all assets acquired during the marriage are marital property subject to division in divorce, as in Florida.  If it is a “separate property” marriage, then assets held in both spouse’s names are marital, but assets held in the name of one spouse only are separate.

In the recent case, the couple married in Quebec and elected for the “separate property” rules in their marriage contract.  They also signed a prenuptial agreement in which they indicated that, if they divorced while living outside Quebec, the laws of Quebec would apply in the division of their property.  The couple later moved to Florida with their daughter, and eventually the wife filed for divorce.  The family’s Palm Beach condominium was titled in the husband’s name only.  The divorce court initially treated it as a marital asset, as Florida law would treat it this way.  The husband appealed the decision, citing the “Quebec law” clause in the prenuptial agreement.

Contact Schwartz | White About Prenups 

A South Florida family law attorney can help you if you moved to Florida with your spouse after signing a prenuptial agreement somewhere else.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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