Osceola couples sign financial contracts before marriage for multiple reasons. Generally, prenuptial agreements clarify the ownership of property and outline the division of property at the time of a divorce or a spouse's death.
Under Florida's Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, prenuptial agreements are valid only when the parties willingly agree to sign the contracts without pressure or threats. Agreements must be fair in the court's eyes. Each party is entitled to "adequate knowledge" of property -- concealing income, assets or any other aspect of finances can invalidate the agreement.
Prenuptial agreements allow couples to set rules for the control and management of assets during marriage, categorize ownership as separate or marital property and establish terms for division. What's the alternative? In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, a family law judge will apply the state's equitable division rules during a divorce dispute, which may not reflect the spouses' wishes.
Financial issues affecting older spouses-to-be are often very different than their younger counterparts. Preservation of assets for children from previous relationships involves designating inheritable property as separate, belonging only to one spouse. The agreement or a will can specify how individual property is distributed upon the spouse's death.
Some prenuptial agreements include spousal waivers. For older couples, that may include waivers for retirement benefits or life insurance proceeds, the right to act as the executor of a spouse's estate or a waiver of spousal support. An attorney can explain the specific rules that apply when these provisions are considered. For instance, a Florida court may override a spousal support waiver, when a lack of support qualifies a spouse for public assistance.
The longer your financial history is, the more complicated your prenuptial agreement may be. Some rules apply to all prenuptial agreements, but personal relationships are unique. An attorney can make sure individuals fully understand the terms of a prenuptial agreement before making a commitment.
Source: American Bar Association, "Prenuptial Agreements for the Golden Years," Stephen W. Schlissel and Jennifer Rosenkrantz, accessed June 25, 2015