How To Make A Prenuptial Agreement “Bulletproof”
In some relationships, it is not enough to have a prenuptial agreement. Very often, these are attacked during breakups and divorces, to the point where some or all of the agreement may be ruled unenforceable. There are ways to ensure that your prenuptial agreement is as strong as it can be, however, which will lessen the likelihood of the entire document being invalidated in court.
Comply With State Law
This rule may appear intuitive, but very often, couples (or attorneys!) are misinformed as to what state law requires or prohibits in terms of debt and asset division. For example, a provision in a prenuptial agreement that divided a debt that was incurred by one spouse before the marriage would be invalid under Florida law. Unless the agreement in question contained a severability provision (a provision that states that one part being rendered unenforceable does not invalidate the entire document), the prenuptial agreement as a whole could be thrown out.
Estate Planning Trumps Prenups
In Florida, though not in every state, gifts or bequests made in wills or trusts supersede any prenuptial agreement, and can be more generous (though not less) than the prenuptial agreement demands. Thus, if you do not pay attention to your affairs, your spouse may receive what amounts to a windfall, between the prenuptial agreement and the will. If, for some reason, you are very firm in the assets you wish for your spouse to have, you will need to make or modify your estate plan accordingly. A prenuptial agreement cannot be overturned by the mere existence of a will with differing bequests, but it can be evidence in favor of an assertion that things have changed between the spouses since the prenuptial agreement was drawn up.
Full Disclosure Is Absolutely Necessary
Whether you are the more or less wealthy partner in a relationship, full disclosure of all assets and debts can save you time and money down the road. Under Florida law, a prenuptial agreement can actually be set aside if it is proved that any kind of fraud or duress factored into its signing, and a lie of omission is still a lie under the law. Another common method of alleged fraud is hiding assets – if your or your fiance’s assets are not disclosed specifically, that allegation may be in your future.
However, Florida law generally does not take alleged ‘unfairness’ into account. Fraud or duress must be proven; if you have no proof and the situation appears to simply be that you are dissatisfied with the prenuptial agreement, it is highly unlikely that a court will take pity on you. The more open you are about your assets and debts, the stronger your prenuptial agreement will be.
In this day and age, it is sadly more likely than it used to be that your marriage will end. Preparing for that possibility can be extremely pivotal, especially if you rely on your spouse for income support. A well-executed, strong, fair prenuptial agreement, drawn up by an experienced and knowledgeable Fort Lauderdale prenuptial agreement attorney, can help give you peace of mind, regardless of your economic status, and by taking the appropriate steps, it will be as strong as possible. Contact the Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. for legal advice at 954-963-5900 or leave a message online.