Getting married is viewed as a very romantic time in a person’s life, and often the logistics of long-term planning for all future possibilities can be left by the wayside. However, as divorces become more common, and dividing assets and determining familial responsibilities become more complicated, it is important to have a pre-set agreement for the future. My name is William Wallshein, and I am a West Palm Beach family law lawyer. For more than three decades, I have helped clients plan for the future with post-nuptial agreements. Whether you’re preparing for a divorce or want to set terms in the event of a future separation and avoid litigation, I can help you come to an agreement that protects your rights.Purposes and Types of Nuptial Agreements
Nuptial agreements are created to pre-establish rights and obligations of a couple during marriage. They also provide a guideline in case of marriage dissolution. Pre-nuptial agreements, or pre-marital agreements, are arranged by couples before they get married. These documents specify the rights and obligations of each party during the marriage, as well as in the event of divorce or death. Post-nuptial agreements contain the same type of specifications but are signed after a marriage, even when no divorce is planned. If divorce is forthcoming when the agreement is signed, these are sometimes called separation agreements.Post-nuptial Agreement Requirements in South Florida
Post-nuptial agreements can include an array of provisions to set out rights and obligations of spouses during marriage, after a divorce, or following death. Without a prior agreement stipulating otherwise, Florida law requires “equitable distribution” of marital property during a divorce. This means that courts will presumptively divide all assets and debt in half, unless there is a specific justification for an unequal distribution. Post-nuptial agreements can replace this rule if they specify how property is to be divided between spouses. Agreements can also contain provisions regarding the distribution of assets and spousal support specifications. However, waivers of parental responsibilities, parental support, and time-sharing rights are not allowable in post-nuptial agreements.
Under Florida statutes and case law, post-nuptial agreements must meet certain requirements to be enforceable by a court. The agreement must be in a written document signed by both parties, and both parties must have received a full and fair financial disclosure. Moreover, the agreement must contain what is called “consideration,” which usually consists of mutual promises by each spouse. The agreement may include an express waiver, if the spouses wish, of equitable property distribution rights, alimony rights, homestead property rights, death rights, and rights to the interest in retirement plans.
If the post-nuptial agreement contains provisions regarding surviving spousal rights in the case of death, the agreement must also follow rules pertaining to valid execution of a will. This means that, among other requirements, the agreement must be signed in the presence of two witnesses. Due to their complicated nature, each party is encouraged to consult his or her own lawyer to be informed of all rights and ensure a valid post-nuptial agreement is created. Since nuptial agreements are not often modifiable or voidable, even if seemingly one-sided, it is important to have separate attorneys to review any agreements before they are executed.Contact an Experienced Family Law Lawyer in Palm Beach Gardens
Whether you’re facing an imminent divorce or just want to be prepared for an unexpected situation, it is worth the time and effort to speak with a lawyer. I am William Wallshein, a Palm Beach Gardens family law attorney who can help you plan your future. I assist clients throughout Broward, Martin, and Palm Beach Counties in establishing valid post-nuptial agreements that create a framework for each party’s rights and responsibilities during or after a marriage. If you’d like more information on setting up a post-nuptial agreement, please call 561-533-1221 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.