People are obsessed with planning: planning vacations, planning birthday parties, family reunions, and especially the ultimate party— their wedding day. Generally, people enjoy planning for things they deem fun and exciting. Seldomly, however, are people excited to plan for life events that are sad or devastating in nature. People don’t want to spend any of their time thinking about, let alone discussing, what happens when things go wrong. The saying goes, “if you fail to plan—you plan to fail”. This is why we have insurance policies. No one hopes to get into a car accident or experience a category 4 hurricane; but because the possibility exists, people safeguard against these events in an attempt to mitigate their exposure to losses.
This thought process can also easily be applied to one of the happiest times in a person’s life—their wedding day. It is no secret that a high percentage of marriages end in divorce. Despite this knowledge, a very low percentage of couples choose to prepare a prenuptial agreement to safeguard themselves in the event of a contentious divorce. According to Florida Statute 61.079:
“A premarital agreement is an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage to be effective upon marriage.”
However, a premarital agreement only really becomes relevant in the event the couple initiates a divorce proceeding. Just like a car insurance policy cannot prevent an accident, a prenup will not prevent a divorce.
What a prenup “can” do is protect couples from each other during a divorce. If given the choice—would you prefer negotiating terms with a friend, or would you rather do so with an adversary? Unfortunately, when going through a divorce—individuals become adversarial in nature. This results in an already difficult situation becoming even more difficult due to emotions being high, and the rationale being low. This dynamic often results in never-ending litigation that takes an emotional and financial toll on everyone involved. Having a prenuptial agreement can serve as an insurance policy that’s in place to help avoid and/or minimize a couple’s damage if and when, they decide they no longer wish to remain married.
Some important details about a premarital agreement are as follows:
- The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties; becoming effective once the marriage has taken place.
- The agreement may address matters related to assets, property (tangible or intangible); details of spousal support or the complete waiver of such support;
- Ownership rights in & disposition of death benefits from a life insurance policy;
- The choice of law governing the construction of the agreement; · Any other matter relevant to the parties, so long as it’s not in violation of Florida’s public policy or the law.
- Note: child-related matters, such as child support, cannot be addressed within premarital agreements.
If you or anyone you know is interested in prenuptial agreements and how best to go about initiating this process, contact the attorneys at Evan H. Baron & Associates.