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Prenuptial agreements and Florida law

It may sound cold and calculating to consider the assets husbands and wives will bring to a marriage as something to be distributed properly in the event of a divorce. Love, trust and sharing are attributes that define a relationship, so there shouldn't be a need to think about divorce before rings are exchanged and vows are made. But husbands and wives these days are often older, with established professions and accumulated wealth or real estate. Many times, they have been married before, and they have children that will form a blended family upon the marriage.

In situations like these, a prenuptial agreement may be a wise choice in order to fairly protect the whole family. It doesn't mean a lack of trust exists, it can be what preserves family relationships since no one can predict what the future will hold.

Florida statutes provide a section known as the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act that outlines and defines particulars of a prenuptial agreement according to Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure. A premarital agreement is defined as an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage. It will become effective upon the legal, recorded marriage. It has to be in writing, and both parties must sign the document. The only consideration for the agreement is the marriage itself.

The term property is defined as an interest in real or personal property, including active and passive income or earnings. It can be tangible or intangible, vested or not yet so, presently in possession or something that will be in the future. The purpose of the written contract is to clearly set out the rights and obligations of each of the spouses insofar as the clearly specified property is concerned.

For example, pre-marital property may be bought, sold or otherwise managed under the terms of a prenuptial agreement. Property division or disposition upon separation, death or divorce may be specified. It can include waiver or establishment of spousal support. The right of a child to support, however, may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.

The law provides protections for either party, among other situations, should proof be established that the compact was signed based on any fraudulent disclosures, coercion, overreach or duress.

Source: The Florida Legislature, "The 2014 Florida Statutes," accessed April. 01, 2015

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