Marriage is a new stage of life, and as with any change, preparation is important. Protecting personal assets before getting married is just as important, if not more, as many other decisions that you will make in anticipation of your big day.
Protecting your assets is important today. We know that marriages do not always last forever. That knowledge requires that couples entering a marriage today be as protected as possible. Hello Prenup works hard to make prenuptial agreements more easily accessible. Those who have used Hello Prenup have avoided the cost of an attorney drafting their premarital documents. Visit Hello Prenup here to learn more about the services offered.
There are steps to making a prenuptial agreement legal in Florida. All these steps must be completed before the marriage to ensure that your premarital assets are protected in case of a divorce. To learn more about how to sign a prenup in Florida, continue reading.
What Is a Prenup?
A prenup (prenuptial agreement) is a contract between two people who intend to marry each other. By signing a prenup, an engaged couple can decide in advance how to divide their marital assets if they get divorced. In most states, including Florida, a couple is prohibited to agree on child custody or child support in a prenuptial agreement.
A prenup is a good tool to avoid disagreements in the future, so how does a couple get a valid Florida prenuptial agreement?
How Do I Make My Prenup Legal?
A prenuptial agreement is governed by the laws of Florida. Florida Statute Chapter 61.079 (7) (a) governs prenups. According to the statute, the following requirements must be met for a prenup to be legal in Florida:
- The couple must voluntarily sign the contract
- The couple must agree to the terms of the prenup without being coerced or under duress. The agreement must be reached without fraud.
- The agreement must not be unfair. Each person must fully understand the agreement. There must be a full financial disclosure by each person. A financial disclosure includes a listing of all assets and debts carried by each person.
Timeline for Signing a Prenup
Like most legal processes, having a signed and valid prenuptial agreement takes place on a timeline. The first step to ensure that your prenup is valid is to discuss you and your future spouse’s expectations for the agreement.
Discussing the Agreement With My Future Spouse
The first thing that must be done is discussing the terms of the prenup with your future spouse. Florida law allows an engaged couple to agree about how they want to divide their property before they are married. The couple should ensure that they discuss the following:
- Spousal support. The couple should decide if spousal support will be paid to either of them, how much, or if they wish to waive spousal support payments altogether.
- Marital property. An engaged couple should talk about how they want to divide property before signing a prenup.
- Transferring property. An agreement should be made about who has the right to sell property after a divorce. For example, you and your spouse may decide that instead of one spouse or the other getting the marital home, you wish to sell it. Your prenuptial agreement should discuss how you and your spouse intend to sell and split the proceeds of the sale.
- Last will and testament. In addition to your last will and testament, Florida law allows spouses to make a trust or other instrument to complete a provision of the prenuptial agreement.
- Life insurance policy. A Florida prenup may include the name of the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.
- A prenuptial agreement may declare which state’s law is controlling if there is an issue with interpretation.
- Other rights and obligations particular to your life and marriage.
Full Financial Disclosure
In addition to discussing the terms of the prenup, each person must give a full financial disclosure to the other. Under Florida law, failure to give a full financial disclosure may make the prenup invalid.
A full financial disclosure includes a listing of each person’s assets and each of their debts. Assets are anything that adds to your income or personal wealth and debts are any money that you owe. If you do not list all your assets in a prenuptial agreement, Florida law can invalidate the entire agreement.
Examples of assets include houses or rental property, cars, boats, investments and bank accounts, and art. This is not an exhaustive list. Anything of value must be included in your financial disclosure.
Examples of debts include credit card debt, student loan debt, liens against property, outstanding personal loans, and medical bills. Any money that you owe to another must be disclosed to your future spouse before you two sign a prenuptial agreement. In Florida, if you fail to list all your debts in a prenuptial agreement, the agreement may be invalidated. Failure to list all debts may amount to fraud. If either party enters into a prenup based on fraudulent misrepresentation by the other party, that agreement may not be enforceable.
Does My Prenup Have To be Notarized?
Each state has its own requirements for notarizing legal documents. Florida requires that that a prenuptial agreement be notarized to be legally binding. Any certified notary public may notarize the agreement. If the document is not notarized, it is not binding until it is notarized.
Do I Need an Attorney?
Florida law does not require that a couple have an attorney to have a legally valid prenuptial agreement. However, if there is a time when the prenup terms are in question, a court may ask about legal representation. A court can ask whether each spouse had an opportunity to speak to an attorney about the terms of the agreement, whether each side understood the document, if one spouse had an attorney review the agreement before signing it, and if the other spouse was unrepresented.
If you choose to draft a prenup without an attorney, you are still required to meet all the requirements under Florida law. You and your future spouse must agree to the terms that you discussed before drafting your prenup. Both sides must ensure that a full financial disclosure is made to each other. And there must be proper notarization for a legally valid Florida prenup. For someone who is unfamiliar with state law, knowing that you have appropriately completed a prenup can be overwhelming.
Use Hello Prenup
A major reason that couples get married without a prenup is that they are turned off by the expense. Hello Prenup is working to make protecting your assets before a marriage easier than ever before. It is important to be prepared before any major life change. Our easy-to-use forms will help you draft a valid Florida prenuptial agreement. Seek legal counsel if you have any questions about your agreement.
By trusting Hello Prenup to assist you in drafting your prenuptial agreement, you ensure that you and your future spouse have protected your assets before beginning your life together. Our forms allow you to easily draft a prenup and to have an attorney review before signing. Learn more about the services that Hello Prenup offers here.
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].