Prenuptial agreements are more common in modern marriages than they were in the past. Prenuptial agreements are no longer restricted to famous couples. More regular people who want to protect their personal wealth from the consequences of a divorce ask their prospective spouses to sign prenuptial agreements.
Prenuptial agreements, also known as premarital agreements, are agreements that a couple signs before they are married, outlining the division of the couple’s assets in the event of a divorce. In some cases, the agreement can restrict the amount a spouse may receive in spousal support if the marriage does not last a designated length of time.
Because the prenuptial agreement requires a waiver of certain financial rights, before the spouses sign the agreement, they make voluntary financial disclosures. Failure to make the financial disclosures, or failing to make a full and accurate disclosure could be the basis of invalidating a prenuptial agreement in a divorce later on. In some cases, if the parties are generally aware of each other’s financial situation, it may be enough to show there was enough of a financial disclosure.
Another important factor in the enforcement of a prenuptial agreement is whether or not the parties entered into the agreement willingly. If one spouse pressures or forces the other spouse to sign the agreement, either without reviewing the agreement or without an opportunity to consult with an attorney, a court may find the agreement invalid. Asking someone to sign a prenuptial agreement days or even hours before the wedding generally counts against a finding of a valid agreement.
If a person is asked to sign a prenuptial agreement, it is important for the person to have the agreement reviewed by his or her own attorney. The prenuptial agreement should represent the best interest of both parties, and should be the result of some negotiation between the parties. For example, if one spouse plans to give up a career to stay home and care for the couple’s children, there should be a provision in the prenuptial agreement that recognizes this, and allows for a more generous spousal support award if the couple has children.
While it is difficult to imagine that a marriage will ever end just as it is beginning, it is important to take proposed prenuptial agreements seriously. Negotiating the terms of a prenuptial agreement without legal assistance, or drafting an agreement using commercially drafted forms that do not adequately address the couple’s’ financial situation is ill advised. Prenuptial agreements have serious consequences and should be taken seriously.
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If you are going through a divorce, and you signed a prenuptial agreement before you got married that greatly restricts which property you can keep, or how much spousal support you can get, you should consult an experienced divorce attorney. There may be grounds to challenge the validity of the prenuptial agreement and ensure you receive a fair settlement in the divorce. For a consultation with our compassionate and experienced Boca Raton, Florida divorce attorneys, contact us at Law Offices of Schwartz l White for legal assistance.