In accordance with the latest Census and ABC News, men and women are waiting longer to get married and the thought is that it decreases the chances for divorce. While studies seem to support the concept, as a Jacksonville, Florida divorce and family lawyer, looking at a marriage later in life also gives rise to new difficulties. As we wait to marry, our value also increases with home buying, retirement assets, career opportunities, business development and the like. So, once you are ready to take the plunge into marriage is there still a way to protect yourself from having to divide up what you have worked so hard to achieve? In Florida, there is an option of a prenuptial agreement, which must be completed, in good faith prior to the marriage.
Prenuptial agreements are outlined in the Florida statutes. However, understanding the provisions before entering the agreement is vital because you do not want to sign away things that you may otherwise be entitled to in case the worse were to occur. When looking to have a prenuptial agreement many people thing there is a stigma attached. However, it is not about planning for your marriage to fail, but insuring that you are protected if the unexpected were to occur. Since marriage can be a tricky relationship for those who have done it for even 30 years, the idea is to simply think about your finances before saying, “I do,” so that you are both protected in the years to come.
Florida Statute 61.079 defines a prenuptial agreement as, “…an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage.” To put it simply, it is a contract between fiancés before the contract of marriage is completed. The idea of the agreement is to simply separate out what assets belong to what parties before the marriage, during the marriage and at the end of the marriage, if a divorce were to occur. The idea is to also leave as much out of litigation if divorce were to occur, so that way neither party is tied up in an unnecessary legal battle. The most popular example of this type of agreement working is the Tiger Woods divorce. Since there was a prenuptial agreement, the Woods’ were not in divorce battle for years, which could have easily occurred without the prior contract.
A prenuptial agreement simply divides property of the parties, establishes how the asset may grow over time and if the asset were to grow, which party or parties would have rights to the asset. For example, a home purchased by one prospective spouse before the marriage is actually a nonmarital asset at the time of the marriage. The value of the home should grow in value over time and that value increase may be considered marital. The prenuptial agreement can actually outline that so it is not a point of argument down the road for the parties if they were to divorce.
Speaking with a family law attorney can be helpful to better understand your rights and options as they relate to your situation and to help guide you to knowing whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you.