Prenuptial agreements are a common part of many marriages in Tampa, especially when they have a lot of valuable things together. However, they’re not just for rich people. Under Florida law, any couple can enter into a prenuptial agreement, and once they’re in effect, they typically remain valid and enforceable as long as the marriage lasts.
Still, understanding these agreements and how they can impact your marriage–and divorce–is very important to your ability to protect yourself if your relationship reaches a breaking point.
Get Serious About Your Interests With Robert Sparks Attorneys
At Robert Sparks Attorneys, we’re serious about protecting the rights and interests of our clients. Our team of Tampa divorce lawyers can guide you through the ins and outs of prenuptial agreements. If you would like more information on these agreements and how they will affect you, contact us today for a confidential consultation.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement–commonly known as a “prenup”–typically includes rules and plans that you and your partner agree on before getting married. Like many legal agreements, a prenuptial agreement is designed to safeguard individuals in case of a divorce, no matter the cause. In Florida, prenups are governed under the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which allows prenups to cover the following topics:
- Asset division – Prenups often outline how the couple’s assets, including real estate, investments, and personal property, will be divided in the event of a divorce or separation.
- Debts – They can specify how existing debts, such as loans or credit card balances, will be allocated between spouses.
- Spousal support – Prenups can establish whether one spouse will pay alimony or spousal support to the other and define the terms of such payments.
- Inheritance and gifts – These agreements can clarify how inheritance or gifts received during the marriage will be treated, whether they remain separate property or become marital assets.
- Business interests – If one or both spouses own businesses or professional practices, a prenup can address how those interests will be handled in case of divorce.
- Property rights – Prenups might determine whether certain properties or assets will be considered separate property (belonging to one spouse) or community property (shared by both spouses).
- Financial responsibilities – They can outline how financial responsibilities, such as household expenses and bills, will be shared during the marriage.
- Estate planning – Prenups can include provisions related to estate planning, such as specifying beneficiaries for life insurance policies or retirement accounts.
- Child custody and support – While prenups can’t legally determine child custody arrangements or child support, they can include preferences or agreements on how these matters should be handled.
- Dispute resolution – Prenuptial agreements may outline procedures for resolving disputes, such as whether mediation or arbitration will be used instead of going to court.
While a prenuptial agreement covers many of the issues that come up in a divorce, it’s important to understand that there are important legal boundaries in play for these contracts. Thus, when you or your spouse wants to enter into a prenup, you should be aware of the legalities.
Is a Prenuptial Agreement Legal in Tampa?
Generally speaking, a prenuptial agreement is like any other contract or binding agreement in Florida. As such, so long as both parties are of age, agree to the terms and conditions, and haven’t been misled, a signed prenuptial agreement is legally binding in Tampa.
That said, like child custody and support, there are certain things that can’t be included in a prenuptial agreement. These things include:
- Illegal activities – Prenups can’t involve illegal activities or encourage unlawful behavior. Similarly, they also can’t involve planning or supporting criminal behavior.
- Personal preferences – Matters related to personal preferences, such as where to live or how to raise children, are generally not enforceable in a prenup.
- Religious beliefs – Prenups can’t dictate religious beliefs or practices.
- Waiving rights – Certain rights, such as the right to spousal support, can’t be permanently waived in a prenup.
- Unfair or Unreasonable terms – Prenups that contain extremely unfair or unreasonable terms may be considered unconscionable and could be invalidated.
- Incentives for divorce – Clauses that provide incentives for divorce, such as financial rewards for ending the marriage, are usually not enforceable.
- Personal matters – Private and personal matters that don’t involve financial or property interests typically can’t be included.
- Healthcare decisions – Healthcare decisions and medical choices can’t be governed by a prenup.
- Privacy invasion – Provisions that invade a person’s privacy or dictate personal behavior are generally not allowed.
When creating a prenuptial agreement, it has to follow legal requirements and can’t include any provisions that could render the agreement unenforceable. Although legal in Tampa and throughout Florida, a prenuptial agreement being in effect can change quickly. As always, any legal questions you may have about prenuptial agreements should be taken up with our team of experienced Tampa divorce lawyers.
How Long is a Prenuptial Agreement in Effect in Tampa?
Because a prenuptial agreement is basically a contract, it enters into effect once signed and generally lasts until the marriage ends. This endpoint is usually included in the prenup itself. However, there are certain conditions or events that can cause it to be voided or modified. Therefore, a prenuptial agreement remains in effect until any of the following happens:
- Both spouses agree to modify or revoke the prenup. This requires the same level of voluntary agreement as when the prenup was initially created.
- The couple divorces or legally separates, the prenup’s terms come into play to determine the division of assets, spousal support, and other financial matters, as outlined in the agreement.
- In the event of the death of one of the spouses, the prenup’s provisions may come into effect regarding matters like inheritance and distribution of property.
- The court invalidates certain provisions of a prenup if they are found to be unconscionable, not made voluntarily, or not properly executed. This might lead to certain terms being unenforceable while keeping the rest of the agreement intact.
Should You Get a Prenup in Tampa?
The question as to whether or not you need a prenup depends heavily on the circumstances. Although prenuptial agreements might not be required in all situations, they generally offer significant advantages. This is particularly true if your circumstances align with specific criteria, such as:
- You or your partner possess substantial assets.
- You or your partner carry debt.
- You or your partner have previous marriage experiences.
- You or your partner have children.
- You or your partner are business owners.
Practically speaking, prenups have the benefit of fostering open communication between you and your future spouse. These clear expectations contribute to building trust, which is a foundational element of any successful marriage. Still, being prepared is always best. Our team can make sure you know what you’re getting into if you have a prenuptial agreement.
Dedicated and Experienced Tampa Divorce Lawyers
When you and your partner are prepared to enter into a prenuptial agreement, it’s always a good idea to consult our team of skilled Tampa divorce lawyers at Robert Sparks Attorneys.
Our team can help you review your information and make sure that your rights and interests are taken into account in the agreement. And if you feel like your spouse isn’t taking this into account, we’ll make sure you reach a satisfactory agreement. Don’t wait to get the help you need. Contact us today to set up a confidential consultation.