Knowledgeable Attorneys Draft Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements in Tampa, Florida
Personalized service to protect your property in the event of divorce
Tampa is substantially a city of married couples and families; the 2000 U.S. Census shows that 36.4 percent of the city’s population consisted of married couples living together, and 27.6 percent of households contained children under the age of 18. Yet, Florida has the seventh highest divorce rate in the country, at around 13 percent. So, while people obviously desire marriage, divorce remains a distinct possibility, which is why a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is worth considering. At Sessums Law Group, our skilled family law attorneys draft marital agreements in accordance with Florida law to give you added protection in the event of divorce. But far from being “divorce planning,” a well-executed marital agreement can provide financial security that adds stability to a couple’s marriage.
Why do couples make prenuptial or postnuptial agreements?
Marital agreements record a couple’s understanding of their rights to certain assets and responsibility for certain debt. Spouses can decide how they want separate and marital property disposed of if they dissolve their marriage. These agreements can also secure the spouse’s rights to child custody and time-sharing, or visitation. A marital agreement is an important tool for two-career couples and couples who have children from a prior marriage. If the couple divorces, a valid marital agreement can eliminate many contentious issues of divorce, saving the couple time and expense. But most importantly, the parties to the agreement, and not the court, keep control over the disposition of their assets.
The basics of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
To be valid in a court of law, a marital agreement must conform to the Florida prenuptial agreement statute, § 61.079 of the 2016 Florida Statutes. The major requirements of the law are as follows:
- Both parties executed the agreement voluntarily — A basic element of every enforceable contract is that a party must want to be bound by the agreement.
- There was no fraud, duress, coercion or overreaching in its execution — One party cannot fool another into signing or get the person to sign through physical force, emotional blackmail, or threats of violence.
- The agreement was not “unconscionable” when it was executed — The law invalidates an agreement that is so outrageously one-sided that its terms “shock the conscience” of the court, only if at the time of execution these three points were satisfied: first, the advantaged party did not make a full, reasonable disclosure of personal finances to the disadvantaged party; second, the disadvantaged party did not expressly waive, in writing, any rights to further disclosure of finances; and third, the disadvantaged party did not have actual or constructive knowledge of the other’s finances.
Basically, a prenup will be valid if:
- Each spouse has independent legal representation.
- Each spouse makes a fully transparent financial disclosure to the other.
- Negotiation and execution takes place well in advance of the wedding.
There are some additional considerations. A court may invalidate a provision in a marital agreement that eliminates spousal support if the dependent spouse would wind up on public assistance. Parents cannot eliminate child support as part of a marital agreement, because support is a right of the child, not the parent.
How much does it cost to get a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement?
It’s impossible to make a flat statement about how much a marital agreement might cost. Straightforward prenups can be remarkably affordable, but prolonged negotiations over complex assets can raise the cost. In a preliminary consultation with our family law attorneys, we can provide you with an estimate of the costs.
Contact our Tampa family law firm for personalized attention to your prenup
For personalized attention to your marital agreement, trust a board-certified attorney at the Sessums Law Group. We are committed to providing excellent representation for family law matters in Tampa and the greater Bay area. Please call 813-435-5058 or contact us online to schedule an appointment at our Tampa office. We also have offices in Lakeland, Sebring and Sarasota.