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What can you include in a premarital agreement?

Many Florida residents are aware that prenuptial agreements are not just for the rich and famous anymore. In fact, business owners and those with significant family holdings may also benefit from premarital agreements. However, there are some restrictions on the types of provisions that can be included in a premarital agreement. Today, we explore the elements of a legally binding prenuptial agreement.

A premarital agreement is often used to differentiate between individual and marital property. For example, an inheritance from a beloved relative -- or a sentimental piece of jewelry -- could be set aside as "individual property." This is also relevant for business owners, who can protect their operation by eliminating it from the potential marital property pool.

A prenuptial agreement can also provide additional legal support for your estate plan. This can include the use of trusts, wills and insurance. In fact, your premarital agreement can include provisions about property distribution to your surviving spouse after your death. That property can include life insurance. In general, the prenup is designed to guide the division of property upon dissolution of the marriage.

Your prenup is limited in some ways, however. Partners are not permitted to waive their right to spousal support in their prenuptial agreement. Further, child support and child custody issues may not be addressed in this document. This is because those decisions are made to comply with the "best interests of the child," according to the state -- not the best interests of the parents' pocketbook.

Finally, prenuptial agreements cannot consider stipulations about personal preferences. We often see prenups with "punishments" for gaining weight or failure to do chores. These provisions can cause a judge to deem your prenup frivolous and have the entire thing dismissed. Your legal team can help you determine the right structure for your prenuptial agreement so it can be executed expediently and efficiently.

Source: FindLaw, "What Can and Cannot be Included in Prenuptial Agreements" Aug. 12, 2014

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