Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can go a long way toward making divorce less messy – if it comes to that – and potentially keeping the couple happily married. There is comfort in knowing the best and worst possible outcomes of your future together.
That was certainly the case with TV broadcaster Matt Lauer when his downfall led to his divorce from Annette Roque. They had negotiated a postnuptial eight years after tying the knot, so their divorce was mostly private and drama-free.
According to a survey done by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), as reported by broadcast channel CNBC, requests by millennials for prenuptial pacts are on the upswing since they are marrying later in life and have more assets to safeguard.
If you’re considering a marital agreement to protect assets, and you’re in St. Petersburg or Pinellas County, Florida – or anywhere in the state – contact me at BKG Mediation, LLC.
As a Certified Public Accountant and Florida Bar Board Certified Tax Attorney, in addition to my work as a court-appointed mediator in Pinellas County, I can help you create prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that are legally precise and take into account everyone’s needs and concerns.
Basically, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is a financial document. If you’re considering marriage, you may weigh the advantages of a prenuptial pact. Agreeing in advance on the distribution of assets can go a long way toward preventing a messy, contentious divorce, and it can even help settle the division of assets should one spouse die prematurely.
A prenuptial agreement is considered a contract, and in any contract, there must be what is called consideration. The consideration represents something that each party – the two spouses individually – will give up or receive as a result of the agreement.
A postnuptial agreement is basically the same type of pact or contract, but it is negotiated and agreed to after the marriage vows are taken. In Matt Lauer’s case, that was almost a decade into his marriage.
Both prenuptials and postnuptials normally address the following areas:
Ownership and use of property upon divorce
Division of assets in divorce
Allocation of debt upon divorce
Amount and duration of maintenance/alimony payments upon divorce
Prenuptial agreements, or prenups as they are popularly called, are valid in all 50 states upon marriage. Postnuptials, however, are not always considered valid and can result in contentious courtroom dramas. In legal terms, any asset acquired after you say “I do” is considered joint property, or a marital asset. A postnuptial can be challenged as violating joint property rights. The postnuptial must be worded so as to provide proper consideration for each spouse.
In Florida, a prenuptial cannot be modified. Once it is agreed to, it is cast in legal stone, but it can be voided in whole or in part by a court. Courts will generally only void a prenup or any of its provisions if it can be shown that the pact was signed under duress or coercion, or that fraud or failure to disclose all assets were involved.
Most people hearing the word “prenup” imagine one wealthy person marrying a less financially rewarded person. While this can be the case, a prenup can actually make for smoother sailing for most couples while married, in the sense that each partner knows exactly where he or she stands should a breakup or divorce loom.
Another popular view of a prenup is that it will cheat the less wealthy partner, but this is not always the case. If the prenup is negotiated with an experienced family law attorney, both sides will end up with the proper consideration. The agreement doesn’t have to be – and shouldn’t be – one-sided.
In truth, any type of marital agreement, whether before or during the marriage, affords both spouses an opportunity to have an open and honest discourse about what’s important to both of them. That itself can be a great benefit to their future relationship.
I am both a family law attorney and a mediator, and I will meet with both couples, or fiancé(e)s, to work out amicable prenuptial and postnuptial agreements that will satisfy all legal standards and stand the test of time. If you’re in St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, or anywhere in Florida, I stand ready to help you with your marriage agreements, whether you’re currently negotiating them or dealing with existing pacts. Contact BKG Mediation, LLC today for an initial consultation.