What is a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement?
I would love to start by saying, as a newlywed, a prenuptial agreement is not the romantic gesture most often associate with their engagement. However, this type of agreement is commonly necessary to protect your assets or loved ones who rely on you.
Think of this process similar to flood insurance. You may never need it, you certainly don’t want to ever have to use it, but if that day unfortunately comes, you breathe a sigh of relief knowing it is there.
A Premarital Agreement, more commonly known as a “prenuptial agreement” is a contract between two prospective partners that takes effect once the marriage is legal. A prenuptial agreement serves to lessen a legal confrontation if the couple is ever faced with an unforeseen divorce. There are many issues a prenuptial agreement may cover such as prospective alimony, financial separation, and/or property division. Some feel a prenuptial agreement conflicts with romanticism of marriage however, this process also facilitates honest and open communications with your future (or current) spouse. A premarital agreement is not created with divorce as a motivating circumstance, rather for the protection of loved ones and assets in the event of unforeseen conditions. Having a prenuptial agreement has no bearing on any relationship, rather couples are seeking predictability and confidence of their financial future.
Those who are highly recommended to enter into a prenuptial agreement:
Those who own real estate or assets,
Those couples who plan to obtain property or assets during the marriage,
Those who own assets prior to the marriage that they want to protect from division during a divorce,
Those with a life insurance policy,
Those with a pension or one year’s worth of retirement benefits,
Those with a future spouse who has debt from education, credit cards, or other debts,
Those who have children from a previous relationship and want to protect those children’s future inheritance,
Those with ailing loved ones whom depend on you,
Those who have business interests that they would like to keep separate from their future spouse if the marriage fails,
Those plan to draw up an estate plan, such as a will or a trust, that could be overturned by a spouse,
For example if you plan to leave an asset to someone other than your spouse in your will, but the court mandates that this particular asset must be sold to cover alimony or relocates this asset with the spouse after a divorce, the spouse will receive the benefit of this asset rather whom you intended.
Those who wish to pre-determine whether one partner will pay the other alimony during separation or divorce,
Those who make more than their prospective spouse, or
Those who make less than their prospective spouse, you read that correctly, a prenuptial agreement may be designed to financially protect both partners.
Prenuptial agreements may include all, more, or a few of the above stated issues. The applicability of this contract shall only represent the intentions my clients wish to include. Although a prenuptial agreement is binding on the parties, any prenup or postnup may be ratified at any time with the consent of both parties.
What about Child Support/Custody?
A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may never determine the issues of child support nor child custody. Florida statutorily determines child support by way of certain factors including income and child custody. Child support is not allowed to be contracted away for it is a legal obligation. Child custody is determined by the best interest of the child which similarly, cannot be contracted away.
Session and Pricing:
**One of the most heavily litigated issues are form prenuptial agreements, wills, and trusts. I advise never to use a basic form for my clients. I prepare each document soley for an individual client. These forms leave clients unprotected and create a financial burden in the future for most who gamble with them.**
Typically we will meet for two sessions, the first to gather the necessary information and the second to review the document and validate. A basic prenuptial agreement is $1,489.00 which covers the majority of client's needs. If a prenuptial agreement is needed within 14 days, an expedited agreement is available for $1,775.00. Costs will be revisited at the end of session one to ensure each client is informed and comfortable going forward.
Please be advised, a deposit is require at the completion of the initial meeting.