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What Prenuptial Agreements Can Do

With the public becoming more aware of the rising divorce rate, prenuptial agreements are increasing in popularity. Prenuptial agreements can specify in advance some elements of marital and, if necessary, post-marital life, and can allow spouses to reap the benefits of efficient spousal arrangements and to avoid disagreement and strife later on. Here are some things prenuptial agreements can do for you:

Keep Finances, Property, and Separate

In Florida, marital property includes all assets and debts either spouse acquires at any point during the duration of the marriage. After marriage, almost no property in Florida that is subsequently acquired will legally belong to a single spouse, even if it is titled in only one spouse’s name. However, a prenuptial agreement can establish that one spouse or the other will receive specific assets or retain specific debts after divorce, should it occur. Planning this in a prenuptial agreement can prevent the need for a court to divide marital assets and possessions later, which is particularly important for couples with many or complex assets or debts or who desire to maintain individual property rights over specific objects, like heirlooms, real estate, or shares in businesses.

Define Estate Planning

A prenuptial agreement can outline estate planning provisions such as whose family shall receive inheritances. If there are children from prior marriages, a prenuptial agreement can help ensure that one spouse’s children inherit their shares of that spouse’s property. A prenuptial agreement also can allow spouses to waive their rights to claim shares of the other spouse’s property after death if the spouses so desire, maybe even as part of an exchange for an agreed-upon share of specific property. Just do not forget to mirror estate planning provisions from the prenuptial agreement in estate documents like wills. Failure to do so can result in family and legal conflicts after death as part of an attempt to determine the deceased’s intentions – precisely the opposite of that which spouses would have intended.

Clarify Financial Plans for the Marriage

Prenuptial agreements can provide for various financial and household expectations, which can be particularly important for high net worth spouses. Prenuptial agreements can provide for whether the spouses will file joint or separate income tax returns, the allocation of income and tax deductions, who and how will fund payments on household bills, where and to what extent the spouses will use joint bank accounts and how money will be set aside for savings or educational expenses, and other financial agreements. Prenuptial agreements can also include provisions for how spouses will contribute to purchases or projects, like those for a new home or for starting a new business and how credit charges and payments will be handled.

For many couples, prenuptial agreements offer many benefits to extend to married life, and can provide a foundation of certainty and consensus with regards to sensitive issues with far-reaching consequences for both individuals involved. The growth in the popularity of prenuptial agreements reflects these benefits. If you are preparing to marry and are interested in a prenuptial agreement to protect both parties’ rights, or you have already begun to settle on prenuptial agreement provisions, consider acquiring the assistance of legal counsel experienced with drafting prenuptial agreements. At Schwartz | White, our qualified Boca Raton family law attorneys are available to assist you. Call 561-391-9943 today for a consultation.

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