What Happens To Property Without A Prenuptial Agreement?
Many people believe that prenuptial agreements are only for wealthy individuals with many assets; however, these agreements not only protect marital property in the relationship between a married couple, but in your relationship with the state of Florida as well. In other words, without a prenuptial agreement in place, state laws determine what happens to any property acquired during a marriage.
If there is no premarital agreement governing what happens to particular assets, in distributing the marital assets and liabilities between the parties, courts in Florida begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal. This is, of course, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution based on all relevant factors, including:
- Contributions to the marriage by each spouse, including serves as a homemaker;
- The economic circumstances of the parties;
- The duration of the marriage;
- Any interruption of educational opportunities or careers;
- Any contributions to the career or education of one party to the other;
- The desirability of retaining any asset intact and free from interference from the other party (such as a business);
- Any contributions to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income or the improvement of marital and nonmarital assets;
- The desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child of the marriage;
- Any intentional dissipation, waste, or destruction of marital assets prior to or after filing the petition (for divorce); and
- Any other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
Prenups Do Not Just Protect Assets
Many do not realize that a prenuptial agreement can govern more than just what happens to certain assets. It can also cover obligations, for example. So, if one party owns property prior the marriage, a prenuptial agreement can set forth that this spouse is responsible for all costs associated with the maintenance of that property, while at the same time, providing certain allowances to the other spouse during the marriage with respect to that property. Prenups can even govern issues such as career and children.
However, it is critical that, in order for a prenuptial to work, it be done correctly by someone who is experienced. In order to be done correctly, it must be properly executed, after being read, without pressure to sign, and having provided each with full disclosure of (correct) information. The content of such agreements is governed by state law.
Talk To Us about Pre- and Postnuptial Agreements
It is crucial that each spouse be represented by an experienced attorney in order for the agreement to be binding and enforceable. Planning ahead can save extensive court costs later on.
To learn more about prenuptial and postnuptial agreements in Florida, please contact the Fort Lauderdale office of Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A.. We help clients prepare sound agreements that protect their interests and honor their relationships. Contact our office so that we can assist you in planning for your future together.