Prenuptial Agreement _- to be or not to be
By Lilliana Real, Esq. – Family Law Attorney, Mediator and Parenting Coordinator
Once you decide to get engaged, you should think about getting a prenuptial agreement and it is not “unromantic” or “offensive” to talk about a prenuptial agreement and it does not mean that you are planning on getting divorced, it just means that you would like to purchase insurance for your marriage just like getting insurance for your car does not mean you plan on a accident, but you are protected if there is one. A prenuptial agreement simply protects you in the event there is a divorce in the future and the future could be in 2 years, 10 years or 30 years and since no one can predict the future, you should be prepared. Just think, your spouse could become an alcoholic, drug or gambling addict, or join a religious cult or even more common than those scenarios, could just have an affair, a lot can change over the years and you need to be optimistic but be prepared for the worst, just in case. The one time you leave the umbrella in the car, it rains, right? Well, you do the math!
Are prenuptials upheld in court, well in Florida, there are factors to look at to determine whether your prenuptial agreement will be upheld. I recommend that you and your future spouse both have an attorney in the state where you are signing the prenuptial, you should make a full financial disclosure with each other so that each person knows that the other person has and what will be outside of the marriage in the event of a divorce and the prenuptial should be signed at least 7 days before the marriage, but ideally, it is better to sign it at least one month prior to the marriage.
Consequently, the negotiations should begin from almost immediately after your engagement. It is a good idea to attach both parties’ most recent income tax returns, financial affidavits and bank accounts to the original prenuptial agreement and to the copies of same. The execution of the agreement is also important, both parties should sign before a notary public of the state you reside in and it is a good idea to have the signing of the prenuptial to be video taped in the presence of a court reporter, if the parties can afford it. In Florida, one party can also pay the costs and attorneys fees for both parties in family cases so in a prenuptial agreement, the costs and fees can also be paid by one of the parties.