The Most Damaging Myths about Prenuptial Agreements, Clarified
Prenuptial agreements unfortunately suffer from a number of incorrect myths; myths that sometimes prevent couples that need to better plan and prepare for their future from considering the very best tool to do so as they enter into marriage or as their marriage ages.
Below, we discuss some of these damaging myths, and try to clear up the facts to better help you prepare:
First and foremost, the issue of wealth, and the misconception that only the wealthiest in society enter into prenuptial agreements because they are the only ones that have something worth protecting. This is a serious misconception. Prenups do not solely exist to protect large piles of cash; conversely, they can protect anything and everything that is important to you, including pets, homes, debts, particular items of importance you want passed onto your children, etc.
That being said, contrary to some popular belief, the sky isn’t the limit when it comes to anything and everything being enforceable in your prenup. Your agreement must be deemed to be fair for public policy reasons, and, of course, it cannot violate the law. So for example you cannot eliminate child support payments in a prenup because state law dictates that it is in a child’s best interest to have financial support. If there are sketchy provisions like these in your prenup, it could be invalidated in court.
Transparency & Timing
This also applies to transparency and timing: prenuptial agreements must be based on full transparency (i.e. full financial disclosure) in order to be considered fair and you should not wait until the last minute to present and/or sign your prenup. If a court suspects that the agreement was signed under coercion or duress, it could be invalidated.
You and your spouse should also have your own legal representation when it comes to the prenup, again, in order to ensure fairness.
Flexibility & Divorce
Remember that prenups do not just involve divorce. Some people use prenups to lay the groundwork for an estate plan. In addition, most experts agree that they have no predictable impact on marriage.
Prenups also have a certain amount of flexibility built into them. For example, you can always go farther than the legal obligations outlined in a prenup (let’s say, for example, if you want to pay more than you promised to in alimony).
Postnuptial Agreements after Marriage
If you didn’t sign a prenup before you got married, that wasn’t your last chance: you can sign a postnuptial agreement after you get married, and it can govern the exact same issues. Keep in mind, however, that any assets accrued during the years you were married when an agreement was not in place will be considered marital property, and this includes income and retirement accounts.
Contact Our West Palm Beach, Florida Family Law Attorneys
As you can see, prenuptial agreements serve a similar purpose to insurance policies for millions of couples each year. Contact our Florida family law attorneys at the office of William Wallshein, P.A. today if you have any questions so that we can help you get started planning.