If you’re planning to marry soon, you’re likely not thinking about what will happen if the marriage fails. Unfortunately, failing to plan for unanticipated life events can result in negative consequences, including a drawn-out legal battle and the loss of assets that are important to you. A Miami prenup lawyer can help you protect yourself and your assets.
A prenuptial agreement — commonly referred to as a prenup — is a contractual agreement that two people enter before getting married. The agreement generally lists the assets each of them owns and also contains specifics as to the assets each individual will receive if the marriage fails.
There are several questions that can be answered through a prenup, such as:
It is important that the prenup is drawn up clearly and understandably and to be thorough in the topics the agreement covers.
Just as divorce is often an unanticipated event in life, other unexpected events — such as an increase or decrease in wealth, the birth of a child, or a child with special needs — can make the prenup seem out-of-date after years have passed. Prenups can be modified at any time during the marriage, provided both parties agree to the modifications through what is referred to as an amendment. An amendment is a page legally added to the original agreement that explains the new changes and can override parts of the original agreement.
One of the most important aspects of a prenup agreement is to avoid a contentious legal battle if the marriage should end and to have a say on how assets will be distributed. Unfortunately, the preparation of many couples goes to waste when a divorce occurs, and it is discovered that the prenup is not legally valid. A Miami prenup lawyer can help individuals who are planning to marry to have the candid conversations necessary to create an agreement that is specific and enforceable.
A prenup attorney can also assist couples who failed to draft an agreement before marriage to create other types of marital agreements — such as a postnuptial agreement — that can resolve the same type of matters as the prenup. If both parties determine that it is time to amend the prenup provisions, or one party wants out of the prenup while the other doesn’t, a lawyer can also assist with those matters.
Many people believe that prenups are only a tool for the rich. While it’s true that wealthy people use prenups to bring clarity to the issues involved in a high-net-worth divorce, prenups are a wise investment in many situations, such as:
Bear in mind: In Florida, if a couple divorces, the courts generally seek a 50/50 equitable distribution of assets. A prenup puts the power in the hands of the couple to determine how their assets will be distributed on their own.
Couples should not include provisions for child custody or child support in their prenup agreement. These are matters that a judge must determine. Additionally, prenups should not address non-monetary matters, such as which party is responsible for washing the dishes during the marriage or taking out the trash.
Prenups do not have a set expiration date unless both parties agree to include one in the agreement. The circumstances in which an expiration date might occur include matters involving one party making monthly spousal maintenance payments to the other for a period of time. Beyond that, the prenup lasts as long as the couple is married unless they decide to revoke or amend it.