Do You Need A Prenuptial Agreement?

There may be some negative stereotypes that are associated with Prenuptial Agreements.  Typically, neither party wants to detract from the blissful atmosphere typical prior to a wedding.  However, a Prenuptial Agreement can also help preserve a marriage.  This is because there is certainty as to how things will terminate should the marriage not last.

The thought alone of creating a prenuptial agreement can cast a negative light upon a wedding.  To some, the contemplation of a prenuptial places a negative light upon wedding preparations and the future of the relationship.  Having to plan for divorce is an admission that a relationship is not permanent.  That said, it is far better to deal with the details of how a relationship is going to end (should it end) while a couple is reasonable and loving compared with being negatively affected by the hostilities and uncertainties of divorce.

In Florida, there are several types of alimony that courts may consider.  There are factors that affect the amount of alimony that can be provided for such as, length of a marriage, the equality of earning ability between the spouses, and the assets that a court must divide.  Florida law creates a rebuttable presumption against permanent alimony when a marriage is 7 years or less, which under the Florida Statutes is defined as a short term marriage.  However, there is a rebuttable presumption for permanent alimony awards in marriages that are long term (greater than 17 years).  Moderate term marriages are defined as between 7 and 17 years and no presumption exists.

There are numerous advantages to a prenuptial agreement.  It can serve to protect premarital assets.  It can help protect children from a prior marriage.  Defining how marital property will be split if a divorce takes place is another important role that a prenuptial fulfills.  Having a “prenup” in place can save money because all issues have been settled prior to litigation.  By discussing the issues while a couple is involved in a loving relationship is far better than negotiating during the heat of litigation.  Florida law was tweaked to remove some discretion from judges in granting alimony by defining a short, medium, and long-term marriages and defining what type of alimony is appropriate.  Like other laws, there can be unintended consequences.  Since the law changed, there are situations where people file for divorce in their sixth year of marriage to avoid potential alimony consequences.  Sometimes people file in the sixteenth year of marriage in order to avoid the potential of paying permanent alimony after being married for seventeen years.

There are situations in which parties have substantial assets to protect and each party is working to accumulate assets over time prior to getting married.  No one wishes to consider the possibility of a divorce.  However, the frequency of divorce has increased over the last several decades.  Therefore, it has become more of a realistic possibility.  Where one is entering a second marriage or a subsequent marriage, frequently, the financial issues will differ from a first marriage.  One may have a home that they own and children from their first marriage that must be provided for.  Many people entering a second or subsequent marriage are older and have to consider retirement issues, as well.  A party might want to be sure that their children from a prior marriage are provided for.

A Second or Subsequent Marriage

If you are remarrying, your current financial position and the issues that you must consider are far different from your first marriage. You may own your home and have children from your previous marriage to protect.

Because you are also older, you must consider your retirement plans and how to ensure you have the funds necessary to pay your expenses during retirement. You also want to make sure that if you pass away, your children from your previous marriage are not cut off or left out of your estate.

By creating a prenuptial agreement and defining both marital and non-marital assets, a party can be sure that their desire to provide for their children or other relatives remains intact.  A party can also define the distribution and liquidation of marital and non-marital property.  Where a party owns a business before entering into a marriage, there is a heightened importance.  This is because even the income of premarital property can be earmarked for a marital or non-marital purpose.  A well drafted prenuptial agreement will protect one’s business partners.

Contact an experienced family law attorney to review your prenuptial needs.

If you have questions regarding prenuptial agreements, you should contact an experienced family law attorney to discuss your options. Having sound legal advice is the first step in protecting your interests.

About the author

Neil Weinreb is a licensed Florida attorney who has been practicing family law for over 15 years in North Florida.  Mr. Weinreb works for the Law Office of David M. Goldman in Jacksonville, Florida.  Mr. Weinreb has worked as an adjunct professor teaching law to paralegal students at Jones College in Jacksonville, Florida.  You can contact Mr. Weinreb at the Law Office of David M. Goldman for a free initial consultation today to find out how having an experienced attorney on your side can help.  Call (904) 685-1200 today.  Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, 4115 Hendricks Ave., Jacksonville, Florida 32207.  Telephone (904) 685-1200.

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