Why Do I Need A Prenuptial Agreement?
Many couples choose to go without a prenuptial agreement, instead preferring to negotiate issues like alimony and child support when they go through a divorce (if ever). However, there are very good reasons for couples to at least consider a prenup, even if they think it might be unnecessary. If you are soon to be married, it is important to evaluate your options.
Protecting Your Separate Assets
One major reason why some couples decide to execute a prenup before their marriage is to set down in stone that certain assets are separate, and not part of the marital property. If you have, say, purchased an automobile in your own name, and you want to ensure that car stays your own separate property, you can delineate it as such in a prenup. Be advised that there are still ways under Florida law for separate property to become marital property (the law states that any appreciation in an asset due to “expenditure of marital funds” is marital property), but most of the time, if you specify an asset is your separate property, it will remain that way.
It is important to keep in mind that while your asset will generally remain your property unless marital funds come into the mix, any appreciation on that asset “related to effort expended by either spouse” is considered marital property. If, for example, you have a stock portfolio that is your separate property, and those stocks appreciate during your marriage due to your management of the portfolio, that rise in value is considered marital property and will be divided appropriately, even if the original value of the stocks is yours alone.
Plan For Alimony
Another major reason to have a prenuptial agreement in place is to plan your post-divorce financial picture, including the possibility of alimony. Asset division in court is a drawn-out, often difficult process, especially if a divorce is less than amicable. If you have a prenup, it can include a disposition of many assets and financial issues which can cut your time in court down considerably. The only things that may not be included in a prenup are child support (Florida parents have a duty to support their children, but that right belongs to the child alone), or the requirement to do anything unethical or illegal.
Alimony, however, can be dealt with in a prenup, and often is, given the relative lack of guidelines on alimony in Florida law. Generally, a judge is more inclined to grant alimony the longer the marriage lasts, but there are a host of factors that can affect the decision, and many couples choose to deal with the matter in a prenup so as to avoid a potentially stormy and drawn-out court battle. Some may worry about arbitrarily settling too much money on a spouse when the future remains unclear, but this can be alleviated with a postnuptial agreement in many situations, rather than having to go to court.
Contact A Hollywood Prenup Lawyer Today
Prenuptial agreements can feel like a very unromantic thing to do, but many couples see them as integral, and there are many persuasive arguments toward your having one so that you can focus on life with your new spouse instead of worrying about what-ifs. The Hollywood family attorneys at the Law Offices of Steven A. Mason, P.A. are happy to try and assist you with what can be a complex legal endeavor. Contact our office today at 954-963-5900 for personalized attention.