Kathy D. Sheive Attorney at Law

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Plan early to avoid duress in prenuptial agreements

Financial compatibility can be a comfort in Osceola, Florida, marriages just as incompatibility can be a primary reason for a break-up. Some engaged couples put off discussions about finances until they've tied the knot. Over the past several years, more and more couples have requested prenuptial agreements to define the financial terms of their marriage and, if necessary, their divorce.

Prenuptial agreements no longer carry the stigma of being a legal option only for the wealthy. The contracts have become attractive to couples marrying for the first time, after accumulating some personal assets they wish to keep separate. Property protection is also important to individuals with previous marriages and children from earlier relationships.

Despite all these incentives, many fiances still have trouble broaching the subject of a prenuptial agreement with a future husband or wife. Consequently, a fiance may not learn about his or her partner's wishes to have a financial contract until wedding plans are well underway, when both parties are under premarital pressures.

Under Florida law, prenuptial agreements must be signed voluntarily without duress. Some states set prenuptial agreement deadlines prior to marriage to prevent last-minute pressure on fiances to commit to the contract. Many lawyers suggest beginning the prenuptial agreements discussion and process as early as possible after a couple decides to marry, to avoid any possibility of coercion.

Some couples also wait until after marriage to create and sign financial agreements. Post-nuptial agreements have the same validity of a prenuptial contract in event of a divorce. The only difference is when the agreement is signed.

It's a good idea to direct your questions to an attorney if you're interested in a prenuptial agreement and want more information or you've been asked to sign a contract. An attorney can help make sure your interests are protected, whether you are in favor of an agreement or have reservations about a premarital or post-marital contract.

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