The act of marriage is assumed to be based upon love and respect. Many Floridians, however, overlook the fact that a marriage is also a legal relationship that can affect ownership of property, custody of children, support obligations and disparity of income. Questions that seemed forever over the horizon at the time of the marriage can appear with devastating force if a couple decide to end their marriage. Even though a prenuptial agreement may seem contrary to the feelings that spawned the marriage, such an agreement can ease the pains of divorce, especially for couples who own substantial assets.
Florida has adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act to define the formalities of such agreements and to specify the topics that may be covered. In order to be valid, a premarital agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties prior to the marriage ceremony. The parties must acknowledge that they intend to marry and that the agreement is intended to become effective when they marry.
A premarital agreement can cover many topics, including the following:
- The rights and obligation of the parties in the parties property
- The rights to buy, sell, encumber and otherwise manage or dispose of the property
- The disposition of specific assets upon divorce
- The establishment, modification, waiver or elimination of spousal support
- The making of a will or trust to carry out the intent of the parties as expressed in the premarital agreement
- Any other matter that is not in violation of the public policy of the state of Florida
A party can prevent enforcement of a premarital agreement by proving that the agreement was obtained by fraud or duress or that the party who seeks to enforce the agreement failed to make a full disclosure of assets before the agreement was signed.
Anyone who thinks that a premarital agreement may be advisable, or a person who has been asked to sign such an agreement may wish to consult an experienced family law attorney. A knowledgeable lawyer can provide useful advice on the enforceability of the agreement and the effect of its terms.
Source: Florida Statutes §61.079, Premarital Agreements, accessed on Mar. 15,