Prenuptial Agreements in Florida
- Are prenups enforceable in Florida?
- Florida prenuptial law
- What to know before signing
- Alternatives to a prenup
In most states, marriage means sharing income and debt. A prenuptial agreement can help protect assets that might otherwise be shared after you say “I do” in Florida.
Prenuptial agreements typically become enforceable on your wedding day. Crafting a document could come with financial benefits, but Florida laws are rigid. Make hasty arrangements, and you could regret them later.
Are prenuptial agreements enforceable in Florida?
Prenuptial agreements are written into Florida’s state laws. Documents that you created legally before you got married are enforceable within the state of Florida.
Note that you must sign your documents before you get married. And, you can’t agree to terms and conditions that break Florida law. But if you follow the statutes carefully, your prenuptial agreements can be enforced at any point throughout your marriage.
Florida prenuptial agreement law
In Florida, arrangements made between two people before marriage are known as premarital agreements. They are enshrined in Florida law under statute 61.079: Premarital Agreements.
Here are important answers to questions you may ask:
What can a Florida prenup include?
Statutes dictate what can be included within a Florida premarital agreement. Yours can contain details about the following:
- Property, including how it’s distributed if one person dies or you are separated or divorced
- Spousal support (sometimes called alimony)
- Wills or trusts
- Life insurance benefits
- The law that governs the provisions of the agreement
- Personal rights and obligations
You could use a prenup to set aside things like property you bring into the marriage, inheritances you expect to get while you’re married, and income you might earn while you’re a couple. If you can get your partner to agree to the terms, you can include it.
What can’t a Florida prenup include?
Many people enter marriages with plans to start a family. It’s reasonable to think about your future children while working on a prenup, but you can’t include any plans that involve child support. In fact, you can’t make any arrangements that would impede a child’s right to receive support from both parents.
You also can’t break Florida laws with your arrangements. Any clause in a prenup that violates public policy or breaks a law with a criminal penalty is unenforceable.
What could invalidate your Florida prenup?
Premarital arrangements in Florida are unenforceable if one party can prove the following:
- One person didn’t sign the documents voluntarily.
- The plans were products of fraud, coercion, or pressure.
- The terms weren’t fair when the document was executed.
- One party wasn’t honest when the documents were created.
- The marriage wasn’t legal.
If you think your partner is lying to you or pressuring you to sign documents that aren’t advantageous, it’s best to avoid signing them.
How long do they last?
Florida premarital agreements are designed to last, even as your life together changes. Your arrangements will stay in place until one of the following issues happens:
- You divorce. When you divorce your partner, the agreement is enforced and dissolved.
- One person dies. When only one person is left, the premarital agreement is dissolved.
- You revoke your plans. If you both sign documents dissolving your agreement, it becomes unenforceable.
- You hit an agreed date. Some people put deadlines in their prenuptial agreements, letting them expire on a specified anniversary. When it comes, the plans expire.
What to know before signing a prenup in Florida
When you sign a prenuptial agreement, you’re telling your partner that you agree with all of the terms it contains. It’s wise to pause.
Read all of the terms included within the document. Many legal documents are written with dense language that’s hard for outsiders to understand. Look up any terms you don’t understand, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Remember that it’s easy to revise the document before you sign it, but it’s hard to change it later.
Know that your life is likely to change after you get married. The salary you make right now could be very different later.
If you plan for children and want to stay home, for example, accepting a 50/50 income split on divorce could leave you with very little to live on. Think hard about a worst-case scenario, and make sure you’re protected.
Plenty of legal experts are ready to look over your documents before you sign. Send your plans for review, and follow the advice you get. Terms that seemed benign to you could raise red flags for an expert.
Prenup alternatives in Florida
You could get married without a prenup. You’re not required to sign one in Florida. Then, if you divorce, you could work with a mediator on a divorce agreement. A plan like this, made with the influence of current events, could be more advantageous. It’s hard to predict what might happen in the future.
You could remain single, with separate accounts, and live together. You’re not required to join together legally to set up a household, share a home, have children, and support one another. For some people, cohabitation is the best way to make sure one party won’t end up with more than the other feels they are entitled to.
You could use trusts to set aside assets for future heirs. This approach, if you finish it before your wedding, can set aside money you have now so it doesn’t become communal property. It’s smart to tell your spouse you’re taking this step, so you don’t enter your marriage supported by a lie. It’s best to have everything on the table beforehand, so there are no surprises down the road.
Do you want to talk to a divorce expert about prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, or other aspects of marriage and divorce in Florida? Schedule a free 15-minute call with a friendly and knowledgeable account coordinator at Hello Divorce.
ReferencesMarriage and Prenuptials. (December 12, 2022). The Florida Bar.
61.079: Premarital Agreements. The Florida Statutes.