Ver en Español
Free Case Evaluation Call Now

FOR MEN ONLY: 7 Things You Absolutely Need To Know BEFORE Filing For Divorce in Florida – WATCH VIDEO

What Really Happens If You Sign a Prenup and Get Divorced?

What Really Happens If You Sign a Prenup and Get Divorced?

Entering into a marriage is supposed to be built on trust, understanding, and a lifelong commitment between two people. But sometimes, relationships unravel in unexpected ways. This reality has led more couples to sign prenuptial agreements before getting married in recent years.

Also known as “prenups,” these binding legal contracts determine how assets, debts, spousal support, and other financial matters will be handled if a married couple gets divorced. They aim to protect both parties and provide a roadmap for dividing up their lives if things don’t work out.

Yet what really happens when a couple with a prenup ends up heading to divorce court? Can the prenup guarantee a faster, simpler split? Or will ex-partners still find themselves embroiled in heated debates over money and possessions?

To gain better insight into how prenups hold up when put to the test in a real divorce, the experienced Florida prenup lawyers at Vasquez de Lara Law Group in Miami discuss exactly what to expect.

What Exactly is a Prenuptial Agreement?

Prenups are a ‘just in case’ contract between couples planning to marry that describes what happens if they ever divorce. It allows them to settle challenging financial issues upfront before tensions run high.

According to Florida law, a valid prenup is a voluntary, signed agreement that:

  • Outlines what each person’s separate premarital assets and debts will be following marriage. This usually includes things owned before the wedding or received by inheritance/gift during the marriage.
  • Classifies expected joint marital assets accumulated during marriage that will be divided if divorced.
  • Defines spousal support parameters, like alimony duration or amount limits.
  • Requires full financial disclosure from both partners.
  • Does not violate state laws around child support.

For many of our clients, the core goal of a prenup is maintaining control over hard-earned business assets, family inheritance money, real estate, stock investments, and high-value personal property. This gives both spouses security that their financial futures will be protected no matter what comes their way as a married couple down the road.

Why Do Some Couples Decide to Get a Prenup?

In our experience, prenups appeal to Miami-area couples for several key reasons:

They’ve built substantial separate assets before marriage.

For entrepreneurs, business owners, and high-income earning professionals marrying later in life, a prenup shields assets they accrued as single individuals from being divided if the relationship doesn’t go the distance. This could include companies, properties, stock portfolios, retirement accounts, and luxury vehicles.

They want to safeguard family money.

Spouses receiving sizable inheritance money or gifts sometimes want to protect those funds by keeping that money separate through a prenup. This ensures it stays in the family instead of being split.

They’ve navigated divorce before.

For older couples entering second marriages, creating clear ground rules ahead of time brings peace of mind. No one wants to repeat mistakes from the past. Getting remarried with a prenup in place lets them enjoy their new union without worrying about finances.

They have children from previous relationships.

When blending families through remarriage, retaining certain assets for biological kids is often an emotional priority. Prenups allow spouses to put aside funds or property to gift heirs down the road.

They want to avoid conflict.

Has one partner accrued significantly more assets or debts than the other pre-marriage? A prenup levels the playing field from day one of the marriage, so neither spouse feels cheated later. Discussing finances early on mitigates tensions.

Can a Prenup Guarantee a Faster, Cheaper Divorce?

A valid prenuptial agreement can certainly streamline divorce proceedings by already detailing asset distribution, alimony, and other financial matters. Less left to negotiate means less time haggling in court.

However, the key word here is “valid.” Signed under pressure, lacking transparency, or otherwise deemed unenforceable by a judge, a prenup won’t expedite the divorce process at all. In fact, trying to dispute a faulty prenup’s clauses could slow everything down.

If anyone tries pulling a fast one with hidden accounts, inaccurate disclosures, last-minute changes, or duress tactics, that gets thrown out. Judges expect both parties to have ample time for review and independent legal counsel.

In other words, an incomplete, hastily signed prenup just buys you a ticket to prolonged fights over finances, property, and support obligations when divorcing. It unravels the whole point.

What Assets Are Divided in a Divorce with a Valid Prenup?

Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning that in a divorce, marital assets and debts are divided fairly between the two parties. So, what does a valid prenup actually govern when it comes time to split everything up?

Premarital Assets

The prenup allows both spouses to retain possessions they acquired before getting married as “separate non-marital property.” Things like:

  • Retirement accounts
  • Businesses
  • Financial investments
  • Cash savings
  • Inherited property
  • Family heirlooms

However, appreciation of premarital assets over the course of marriage may be classified as joint marital property later subject to property division.

Marital Assets

Almost always, assets actively earned or purchased jointly during marriage get divided equitably per state law. This includes the couple’s shared home, joint bank accounts, purchased real estate, appreciation on premarital investments, and accrued team business assets.

Gifted/Inherited Assets During Marriage

If protected in the prenup documentation, property or cash gifts received individually from family during marriage typically remain that spouse’s separate property and are not subject to division.

Spousal Support

Many prenups outline parameters or limits on alimony/spousal support to be paid in case of divorce. However, anything violating state support guidelines will not hold up. The same goes for child support, which cannot be waived in a prenup at all.


Prenups also often classify individual debt obligations tied to separate premarital assets. Otherwise, common marital debts are divided.

What is the Attorney’s Role in a Divorce with a Prenup?

Experienced divorce lawyers like our team at Vasquez de Lara Law Group are indispensable when prenups get tested in real life with a split.

Legal counsel helps by:

  • Reviewing the prenup to confirm enforceability under state laws before divorce filing
  • Advocating for clients if any clause seems invalid or a violation of rights
  • Analyzing complex asset distribution nuances in light of the prenup terms
  • Determining arguments against unfair or unhealthy prenup conditions
  • Estimating court timelines and costs with a prenup in place
  • Negotiating alternate marital settlement options as needed

Perhaps most importantly, family law attorneys ensure both parties completely understand the implications of the prenup on property and support rights before signing on the dotted line. They also prepare clients for scrutinizing questions from judges skeptical of contracts protecting significant separate assets in ugly divorces.

Does a Prenup Always Hold Up in Court?

Most properly executed prenups are enforced in a divorce as long as Florida guidelines are followed. But legal holes do sometimes appear.

For example, a judge may rule all or part of a prenup invalid if:

  • There were blatant asset disclosure omissions or misrepresentations
  • A spouse’s waiver of rights seems unconscionable
  • There is evidence one person was unethically pressured into signing
  • Support provisions violate state alimony, child custody, or child support laws

Additionally, some prenup clauses lose teeth over longer marriages. After being together for 15+ years, it’s harder to claim current assets came only from premarital activities.

The court expects more equitable distribution. Terms also get re-examined if kids are involved, or one spouse would unfairly suffer serious hardship from enforcement.

Trust Our Experienced Prenup Lawyers

As couples move forward from the euphoria of “I do” to the sobering reality of “I don’t anymore,” prenups clearly lay out ground rules during a challenging transition.

Turn to our compassionate legal professionals for trusted guidance at every step in your journey. From thoughtful premarital planning to asserting your rights during a complex divorce, we devote our careers to securing your best interests now and always.

To discuss your situation in complete confidence, schedule a consultation with Vasquez de Lara Law Group today.

Author Bio

Vanessa Vasquez de Lara is the founder and owner of Vasquez de Lara Law Group, a Miami family law firm. With over 20 years of experience in family law, she has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including divorces, child support, child custody, alimony, and other family law cases.

Vanessa received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2002 and is a member of the Florida Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named to the 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars and the 2016-2023 Super Lawyers list.

LinkedIn | State Bar Association | Avvo | Google