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What a Prenuptial Agreement Can and Cannot Do

Planning a wedding in Florida? While cake tastings and venue scouting take center stage, a prenuptial agreement (prenup) can offer peace of mind in a more lasting and profound way. This legal document, signed before marriage, dictates how assets, spousal support and even some non-financial matters will be handled in the event of divorce. However, just as important, these agreements have certain limits.

Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning assets and debts acquired during the marriage are split during a divorce according to a complicated and exacting method. A Florida prenup allows couples to avoid this process in large part. Such an agreement can be effective in:

  • Protecting premarital assets — Although property held prior to marriage is generally exempt from distribution, there is a danger that it may be found to have been converted to marital property through commingling or other means. A prenup prevents keeps the property separate.
  • Carving up post-marital acquisitions — If you and your spouse make joint investments, the prenup can establish how they will be divvied up. If you enter a business venture together, the prenup can specify ownership percentages and how profits or debts will be allocated.
  • Controlling spousal maintenance (alimony) — A prenup can limit the amount of alimony payable to either spouse, but it cannot completely waive a spouse’s right to financial support, especially if there’s a significant disparity in income.

Prenuptial agreements can be particularly useful for couples with children from prior marriages, in the following ways:

  • Providing transfer of assets — A prenup can ensure that assets are directed towards the intended beneficiaries, such as the children from a previous marriage.
  • Specify inheritance rights — The prenup can clarify how inheritances from separate property will pass to children, avoiding future disputes.
  • Address spousal support for stay-at-home parents — A prenup can establish spousal support for a parent who chooses to stay home and raise children from a blended family.

However, Florida prenups have limitations, particularly regarding children. Here’s what a prenup cannot do:

  • Dictate child custody or support — Florida courts prioritize what’s best for the child, and a prenup cannot dictate custody arrangements or limit a parent’s child support obligation.
  • Limit inheritance rights of children — A prenup cannot prevent children from inheriting what they’re legally entitled to under Florida law.

A Florida prenuptial agreement is a valuable tool for couples planning a marriage. It fosters open communication about finances and can provide clarity and security in case of divorce. However, it’s important to understand its limitations. Consulting with an experienced Florida family law attorney can ensure your prenup reflects your specific needs and is legally sound.

The Law Offices of Lawrence S. Katz, P.A. in Miami can help you create a prenuptial agreement best suited to your personal and financial circumstances. Feel free to call us at 305-670-8656 or contact us online to arrange a consultation.

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Lawrence S. Katz

For many years, Lawrence S. Katz has helped clients in Florida, throughout the United States and abroad. He has earned an excellent worldwide reputation for providing knowledgeable, quality representation in cross border family law matters and child abduction. He serves as counsel, co-counsel, consultant and expert witness.

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