Articles Posted in Premarital Agreements

marriage%20and%20money.jpgA recent poll conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) reveals that prenuptial agreements have increased in popularity over the past five years, especially among women.

Approximately 73 percent of matrimonial lawyers polled said they have seen an increase in requests for prenuptial agreements; 52 percent said they have experienced an increase in women making the request.

The poll also found that 36 percent of attorneys surveyed said they had seen an increase in the inclusion of pensions and retirement benefits in prenuptial agreements, signaling a shifting change in the importance of how these assets are viewed in light of the current economy.

Engagement.jpgProfiled in a recent New York Times story, Allison Brooke Eastman learned another way that debt can devastate. Once her fiancé discovered that she had more than $170,000 in student loan debt, he broke off the engagement.

These days, it is not uncommon for people to bring significant debt to a relationship. And, as illustrated by Ms. Eastman’s story, it is also common for couples to fail to address debt issues prior to entering marriage. An advantage of prenuptial agreements is that they force the discussion so that “unpleasant” issues are brought to the forefront and dealt with prior to marriage.

People who bring debt to a marriage – whether it is one or both of them in the relationship – should decide how that debt will be treated during the marriage as well as in the case of a divorce. From a legal standpoint, it is likely that any debt one spouse brings to a marriage would remain his or hers alone after a divorce. But would the other spouse be entitled to a “refund” of monies he or she spent to pay down the other’s debt? What if the debt-ridden spouse becomes incapacitated and can no longer work – or wants to quit their job to stay home and take care of the children? How is the debt paid then? These are all valid questions that can and should be addressed as part of a prenuptial agreement discussion.

wedding%20figurines.jpgWhenever a celebrity divorce is in the news, people always want to know two things: was there a prenup? And will it hold up in court?

Prenuptial agreements are challenged in court all the time and there are numerous cases where the courts have ruled against a prenup. There are even cases where egregious marital misdeeds have enabled aggrieved spouses to successfully negotiate larger payouts (hello, Tiger Woods) than their prenups specify.

There are a number of other reasons why a court may disregard a prenup, including:

Movie.jpgAccording to a number of Internet news reports, TV star and producer Kelsey Grammer has broken the golden rule in Hollywood Marriage 101 by not having a prenuptial agreement in place when he married wife Camille 13 years ago.

The Grammers are divorcing and the former “Frasier” and “Cheers” actor could be looking a huge financial loss. The actor allegedly tried to declare his earnings from “Frasier” as separate property; however, this can only apply to his earnings prior to his 1997 marriage to the former Playboy model. Which means that the earnings from seven seasons of the show – at a reported $1.6 million per episode during the last season – as well as syndication earnings could be up for grabs.

The couple split due to “irreconcilable differences” in July. In her filing, Camille asked the court to award her with primary physical custody of their two children — an 8-year-old daughter and a 5-year-old son – and grant visitation rights to Kelsey. She has also petitioned the court for spousal support.

Kelsey has requested joint physical custody of the children and is also asking the court not to award any spousal support to his estranged wife.

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Premarital agreements fall under Fl. Stat. sec. 61.079. Pursuant to this statute, a premarital agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. It is enforceable without consideration other than the marriage itself. The agreement becomes effective upon the marriage of the parties. The parties to a premarital agreement may contract with respect to:

1. The rights and obligations of each party regarding any property.

2. The right to buy, sell, transfer, abandon, exchange, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property.

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