WHAT IS A POSTNUPTIAL AGREEMENT?
Prenuptial agreements, arguably the most commonly discussed marital agreement, are entered into by two individuals before they legally marry. Postnuptial agreements are quite similar in both legal requirements and the contents of an agreement, but it differs primarily in that postnuptial agreements occur after the Florida couple is legally married.
Here is a closer look at how to enter into a valid postnuptial agreement, what kind of things parties can agree to and why it may be in your best interests to do so.
FLORIDA POSTNUPTIAL AGREEMENTS
For a Florida postnuptial agreement to be valid, the agreement must:
- Be put in writing
- Be signed by both of the parties
- Contain terms and provisions that are acceptable according to Florida statutes
The criteria concerning Florida statutes is particularly important since the first two requirements are fairly straightforward. Florida law expressly provides the types of agreements two parties can contract to in a postnuptial agreement in §732.702 of The 2016 Florida Statutes.
Florida parties can make a postnuptial contract involving either or both of their parties no matter when or where it was located or acquired. Agreements of this nature can include agreeing on how said property is bought, sold, used, transferred, leased and much more. Similarly, the parties can agree to how property is disposed of if a certain life change or event occurs, such as a divorce or death.
Like a prenuptial agreement, the parties can also come to an agreement on alimony, estate planning instruments or how death benefits from a life insurance policy should be handled.
Once couples fulfill these criteria and come to agreements that are recognized by Florida law, they must then perform one final step. Postnuptial agreements also require that both spouses affirm their financial situations were truthfully and accurately disclosed to each other. If all these conditions are met, then the couple will enter into a legally valid postnuptial agreement, so long as the agreement is not unfair in the eyes of the court.
LIMITATIONS ON POSTNUPTIAL AGREEMENTS
It is worth noting that a postnuptial agreement is not enforceable if the agreement was the result of fraud, duress, coercion or overreaching, as outlined by the influential Florida Supreme Court decision of Casto v. Casto, 508 So.2d 330 (Fla. 1987). Should a couple ever get divorced, this means that Florida courts will look to see whether the postnuptial agreement was unfair.
If it was, they may not enforce some of the terms or provisions of the agreement. For this reason, it is important that postnuptial agreements fairly take into account the unique needs and circumstances of both spouses.
BENEFITS OF POSTNUPTIAL AGREEMENTS
Postnuptial agreements are an excellent way couples can prepare for life as a happily married couple. The couple can agree on property, plan for each other’s passing and can even plan for dividing money in a blended family with children from previous marriages.
Effectively, postnuptial agreements are an excellent way to solve the big picture financial decisions and planning issues so both parties feel their unique needs and situations are protected within the marriage.
If you have questions regarding Tampa family law, or are unaware as to the terms and conditions in, talk to, and retain, a family law attorney who can help. Contact Damien McKinney of The McKinney Law Group to discuss your case further. He can be reached by phone at 813-428-3400 or by e-mail at [email protected]