Few couples in Florida get married with the expectation their marriages will end in divorce. Unfortunately, divorce is a common event in this state. As of October of 2008, Florida had the highest number of divorces out of 44 responding states, according to a CDC National Vital Statistics Report. Florida adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act in 2007 to give Florida residents the ability to enter into financial agreements prior to marriage in case their marriages end in divorce. The Act applies to all prenuptial agreements entered into from October 1, 2007.
The purpose of the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, as adopted under Florida Statute, Section 61.079, is to permit partners entering into a marriage the ability to establish how property acquired before and during the marriage will be divided upon divorce. It also assigns ownership of liabilities each partner may incur after marriage but before divorce. Under the Act, partners may assign rights to retirement accounts and other assets in the event of a future divorce.
All prenuptial agreements made under the Florida Uniform Premarital Agreement Act must be in writing and any amendments to the agreement made after marriage must also be in writing. Both parties must sign the completed agreement in order for its provisions to be legally enforceable. The execution of the agreement must be made voluntarily by both parties and each partner must disclose their liabilities, income and assets to the other partner, unless both partners waive right to disclosure in writing.
The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, as adopted under Florida law, places certain restrictions on the types of provisions the agreement can contain. For example, no agreement concerning a personal obligation or right is enforceable if it would conflict with Florida public policy or criminal statutes. No agreement may be entered into if it was influenced by duress, fraud or coercion. If the prenuptial agreement involves spousal support that would create impoverishment and make one party in need of public assistance, the judge has the authority to adjust the amounts of spousal support.
Drafting a premarital agreement in Florida can be a complex task and navigating the provisions of the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act in Florida can be challenging on your own. For this reason, you may want to consult an experienced professional who can help ensure you and your future spouse have included all necessary provisions in your agreement. If one party to a prenuptial agreement is represented by an attorney, the other party should consider retaining independent counsel before finalizing the agreement.