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Prenuptial agreements, Part 1: on the rise, and understandably so

A recent media article notes that, although the Gettysburg Address -- a momentous document to be sure -- was scrawled by President Lincoln on an envelope, the same level of informality is most assuredly not a good idea when it comes to the execution of legal documents.

Take prenuptial agreements, for example.

When marital contracts are discussed, the story of the prenuptial contract executed between celebrated movie director Steven Spielberg and actress Amy Irving, his ex-wife, often emerges as a cautionary tale.

Notwithstanding the singular degree of wealth residing in that power couple, Spielberg reportedly opted to set forth the details of a prenup in handwriting on a napkin, which the couple signed.

The judicial outcome when the “document” was presented for court scrutiny: unenforceable.

The result: Because California is a so-called community property state, Irving was awarded precisely half of what Spielberg earned during their four-year marriage, namely $100 million.

That story should immediately send every couple in Florida and elsewhere that is contemplating the execution of a marital contract to the offices of an experienced family law attorney with proven acumen in drafting marital contracts (both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements).

In fact, a comprehensive article on these agreements hammers down especially hard on that point. It states that any person interested in a marital contract should “use only matrimonial lawyers who are familiar with prenups and the laws of the state in which you will be living.”

Marital contracts have become increasingly accepted in recent years, being widely and justifiably viewed by progressively more people as effective planning instruments for married partners.

We will take a closer look at prenuptial contracts in our immediately following blog post, discussing why their perceived utility is on the rise and what is especially important for couples considering them.

Source: Bankrate, "Everything you need to know about prenuptial agreements," Accessed Jan. 27, 2014

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