Premarital Agreements & Dissolution of Marriage
The Knowledge You Need To Take Charge of Your Life
Experienced Fort Lauderdale attorney drafts prenuptial agreements protecting client’s intent.
While marriage is a union based on love and commitment, it is also a legally binding contract that comes with financial benefits and repercussions. A prenuptial agreement provides a safeguard in case the marriage ends. At Law Help Florida we help couples arrive at informed decisions regarding how their assets and liabilities should be handled in the event of a divorce. We devote personalized attention and guidance to each client, with the goal of providing clarity for both parties.
Thoughtful attorney advises client’s both before and after marriages are finalized.
A prenuptial agreement is signed before marriage, while a postnuptial agreement can be made any time during a marriage. Your prenup or postnup should be tailored to the specific circumstances of your relationship and address how the end of that relationship should be handled. The agreement may include terms for:
- Property — Spouses may enter a marriage with vastly different levels of wealth. Drafting a prenup gives couples the opportunity to thoughtfully consider how separate property should be shared or divided if divorced.
- Debts — Student loans, credit card bills and other obligations may put spouses on very different financial footing. Because any additional debt added during the marriage becomes marital debt, it can be wise to plan for debt distribution in advance.
- Alimony — Couples entering a marriage may decide whether or not alimony (also called spousal support) should be an option in a divorce. For example, the agreement may provide that a stay-at-home parent is entitled to support, or that spouses who are equal earners will not seek alimony.
- Business assets — When a premarital agreement does not exist, any assets accumulated by either spouse during a marriage become marital property. If one spouse owns a business, the business revenue could become jointly owned. A prenup can help keep business and marital finances separate.
- Children’s inheritance — If one spouse has children with another person, the prenuptial agreement may include language to protect the inheritance rights of those children. Without a provision in the agreement or in an estate plan, certain assets could be transferred to the new spouse instead of to the children.
- Misconduct — Some couples may wish to address how infidelity or other marital wrongdoing should affect the division of property or other financial assets in a divorce.
Couples with marital agreements in place may be able to avoid protracted legal battles during divorce while still maintaining respect for one another. Ultimately, a marital agreement may save a couple money, time and emotional energy. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements cannot govern how child custody or child support will be handled, however.
To schedule a consultation, call us at 954-336-5550.
Dissolution of Marriage
We offer a full range of services relating to dissolutions of marriage and domestic partnerships. Our attorneys have extensive expertise in handling all aspects of family law including child custody and visitation, asset/debt division, child support, spousal/partner support, and nullity proceedings. We set ourselves apart from firms that offer only basic family law services by providing high level expertise in marital/partner dissolutions where significant financial assets are at stake and the issues are highly complex. Such a dissolution might involve, for example, large real estate holdings, family businesses, foreign citizenship, foreign assets, significant stock and option holdings, venture capital investment, and/or taxation issues. Our firm handles these cases from the commencement of the proceedings through the final judgment, as well as post judgment issues such as custody and support modifications.
Property Settlement Agreements
At Law Help Florida we work to make the dissolution process as straightforward as possible. When you and your spouse agree on how assets and debts should be split up, our office can draft and review the terms and advise you on amendments you may want to make to protect your interests.
If your breakup is contested, the court will look to achieve an equitable but not necessarily equal distribution that provides each spouse with his or her fair share of the marital estate.\
With certain exceptions, everything you and your spouse accumulate during your marriage is considered marital property. This means that unless you have a prearranged legal agreement (premartial agreement), the assets you and your spouse gain individually from the period after you said “I Do” belongs to you as a couple rather than to either of you individually as separate property.
The types of assets that will be divided in your property settlement agreement may include:
- Real property — The marital home is often the most valuable part of your marital estate. If one spouse purchased the home individually before the marriage, the gain or loss in the home’s value during the marriage is a gain or loss of the marital estate.
- Bank accounts, stocks and bonds — Whether you and your spouse have both your names on an account, or one spouse opened the account on his or her own, there is joint legal ownership of the financial assets accumulated over the course of the marriage.
- Retirement accounts — Increases in value to either spouse’s retirement account during the marriage are considered increases to the value of marital property. IRAs, 401ks, pensions and other types of retirement plans can be divided unless either partner named another beneficiary outside the marriage.
- Household property — A property division agreement or order sets rules for everything from automobiles to furniture to artwork and sentimental items.
- Debts — The marital estate has the legal obligation to pay off debt racked up by either spouse during the marriage.
A judge may decide as part of an equitable distribution order that one spouse is primarily responsible for debts he or she accumulated, or that one spouse has a stronger claim to any other piece of property. Florida courts aim to ensure that each spouse exits the marriage without an unfair financial burden or advantage.
Search for hidden assets during high-asset divorces
High-value marital estates are often disputed during a divorce. Couples who have accumulated a significant amount of wealth often have a diverse portfolio of financial assets and valuations. Equitably separating these assets can become challenging and often requires expert testimony in support. Evaluations may be required for valuables, jewelry and vehicles
Florida law requires full financial disclosure from each spouse during a divorce. It is not uncommon for one spouse to try to hide assets so that the other spouse cannot access them. Law Help Florida is adept in meticulously tracing hidden assets and will undertake a full financial investigation to find and disclose any “missing” assets.