Prenuptial & Postnuptial

The Overlooked Value Of Prenuptial Agreements

It’s widely considered to be a sign from your partner that they don’t trust you or that you don’t trust them if either of you asks the other to sign a prenuptial agreement prior to tying the knot. But maybe that shouldn’t be the case. Instead of being a sign of mistrust, a prenup can be used to inspire trust. Before explaining how that’s possible and why a newly engaged couple may want one, let’s break down exactly what prenups – and their post-marriage counterpart, the postnup – actually are.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

Prenuptial agreements – also called antenuptial agreements, premarital agreements, or simply “prenups” — are signed by future spouses before they get married. It is a legally binding document where the two agree on how to handle certain assets and situations in the event that they separate or get divorced.

A postnuptial agreement – or a postnup – does the same thing, only it’s signed by couples who are already legally married. If they’ve been married in the eyes of the law, but haven’t had a wedding, they would sign a postnuptial rather than a prenuptial.

What Can a Prenuptial (and Postnuptial) Agreement Protect?

Prenups and postnups protect assets by giving written confirmation from you and your spouse that outlines the ownership of certain assets if the marriage ends in a divorce. A partner can also promise not to seek alimony in the event of divorce or to agree to a set amount. 

Unless there is some reason to believe that the prenuptial or postnuptial agreement was not signed in good faith, you must abide by it, even if you wish for a different alimony agreement. It’s not impossible to make changes if both parties agree, but it can be difficult.

What Can Go in a Prenup (and Postnup)?

Assets and agreements that can be included in a prenup or postnup include:

  • Retirement and/or education funds that either spouse acquired before the marriage.
  • Property that either party owned before they were officially married. Postnups can establish the same, but it forces a greater burden of proof.
  • Property and assets that are meant for children from previous relationships.
  • The promise of alimony agreements or lack thereof following a divorce.
  • Promises that one or both spouses are not beholden to the debts of the other spouse.
  • How any inheritance should be handled.
  • How insurance and disability policies are to be handled.

What Can’t Go in a Prenup (or Postnup)?

Some assets and agreements cannot be included in a prenup or postnup. These include:

  • Matters of child custody or visitation for current and/or future children.
  • Child support is calculated and decided upon by the court, not a prenuptial agreement. You can agree to make trusts for current and/or future children.
  • Day-to-day household matters can’t be decided upon. For instance, you can’t agree on who will wash the dishes on what day in a prenup agreement.

Why Should You Have a Prenuptial Agreement?

In many ways, a prenup can look like a will, but for your marriage. What you agree and promise to each other can be a sign of trust and love. To offer so much to the other person can be a positive sign of love.

Why Do You Need a Family Law Attorney?

Both you and your future spouse must have separate legal representation to review and sign this legal agreement. While it’s not illegal to sign without one, it’s easy to create an illegal contract that won’t hold up in court if it’s not reviewed by an attorney. These agreements must conform to the established Florida law, or they can be invalidated. Both parties should have copies of the prenuptial agreement before marriage to avoid invalidation. 

Contact C. Alvarez For Legal Information

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements remain touchy subjects between spouses for understandable reasons. They will continue to have bad connotations as long as they are treated as a sign of distrust. If you’re offered a prenup or want to offer a prenup, you don’t have to respond or suggest in a way that signifies a lack of trust. 

But before you do that, you need a family law attorney to help you create one. Hiring an attorney to draft either a prenuptial or postnuptial helps to ensure that the agreement will not be the subject of litigation and possibly be thrown out in the event of a divorce. The family law attorneys at C. Alvarez Law have the experience you need. Contact us today.