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International premarital agreements and Florida courts

For some, marriage is the simplest story ever told: Two people meet, fall in love and live happily ever after. What happens when happily ever after is derailed and the simple love story becomes a complex divorce story? For couples with international premarital agreements, divorce in a Florida court could be simplified by a bill introduced by legislators.

The bill, which is awaiting action from the governor, has sparked controversy among law experts and politicians. Some believe the bill is restrictive or gives off the impression that Florida is not supportive of individuals and businesses from other countries moving into the area. Others say that the bill simplifies processes, allowing lawyers and judges to go to one law statute when considering cases.

One member of the bar who assisted in the drafting of the bill used prenuptial agreements as an example. If a couple was married in another country and signed a premarital agreement in that country, there may be a question of whether the agreement is valid in a Florida-based divorce. The bar member said that the bill means the judge could consider an international prenup. As long as the prenup doesn't violate public policy, he says the bill would allow a judge to make a ruling based on the agreement.

The bill was revised to reduce some restrictions, which resulted in some detractors dropping opposition. Even so, former detractors aren't rushing to support the bill fully. According to counsel for the Anti-Defamation League, some feel that the bill doesn't line up with Florida's attempt to promote itself as a destination for international business.

Whether or not the bill passes, the complexity of prenuptial agreements -- within or without the United States -- remains a consideration for some divorces. Understanding your prenup is important before the marriage, and equally important during a divorce proceeding.

Source: Seattle PI, "Bill prohibits foreign family law in state courts" Steve Miller, May. 01, 2014

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