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Florida’s premarital agreement law and blended families

In past generations, it was common for married couples to remain together for their entire lives. Today, many people experience divorce and remarriage to other people all the time. In fact, a report conducted by the Pew Research Center found that four out of 10 American adults have at least one step-relative. A step-relative is someone who is defined as either a stepparent, stepchild or a step sibling. The latter is also commonly referred to as a half-brother or half-sister.

While it is true that many of these step-relative relationships function normally, the Pew research also shows that people often demonstrate more loyalty and allegiance towards their biological relatives than they do for their step-relatives.

Taking that into consideration, it isn't difficult to understand why blended families can often experience difficulties after the merging of two people who have children from previous marriages.

Fortunately, Florida law recognizes premarital agreements that are formed properly between both parties as enforceable contracts. Generally, a premarital agreement is an arrangement wherein both prospective spouses decide their interests in property prior to getting married. Under Florida law, these properties can be present or future interests, tangible or intangible and can also include income earnings.

Additionally, Florida residents are allowed to include how they want that property disposed of in the event of a separation, divorce or death of the other spouse.

If you are contemplating a blended marriage, you should know that a premarital agreement can go a long way towards providing protection of your property as well as other important decisions. For example, you can specify which party shall be liable for student loan debts consumer debts and bankruptcies. You can also make arrangements regarding childcare for your children or elder care for your parents.

Full disclosure is the heart of any enforceable premarital agreement. In order to be valid, both parties must fully disclose all interests in property or assets to the other party before finalizing the agreement. Your Florida family law attorney can assist you by examining the particulars of your holdings and advising you regarding the proper formation of a valid and legally enforceable premarital agreement.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Yours, Mine and Ours: Planning Stepfamily Finances" Jason Alderman, accessed Jan. 14, 2015

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