Will a Prenuptial Agreement Always Be Enforced in Florida?
A prenuptial agreement is an agreement signed by a couple immediately prior to their marriage. This type of agreement controls how assets will be divided in the event that a divorce occurs. When considering voluntary agreements, Florida courts have a strong presumption in favor of upholding the stated wishes of the signing parties. However, the terms of a prenuptial agreement will not always be enforced. It is critical that a prenuptial agreement is drafted properly, otherwise it may be ruled invalid. If you have any questions about drafting a prenuptial agreement, or if you are going through the divorce process and are involved in a prenuptial agreement related dispute, please contact an experienced Orlando divorce attorney.
The Top Three Reasons Why A Prenuptial Agreement Might Be Invalid
Florida courts can find part, or all, of a prenuptial agreement invalid for a number of different reasons. Courts will always review the agreements to determine if they are consistent with Florida law. In general, prenuptial agreements become unenforceable for one of three reasons:
- Lack of proper disclosure: If assets were not properly disclosed before the agreement was signed, a Florida court may look to set it aside. Parties to any contract, including prenuptial agreements, have a legal duty to bargain in good faith. If one partner failed to inform the other about materially relevant assets, there has been a breach of this good faith obligation.
- Signed under duress: A prenuptial agreement is not legally enforceable if a court determines that it was signed under ‘duress’. Some indications that duress was present include high pressure being used, lack of adequate time being given to review the agreement, lack of access to an attorney and an imbalance in power and sophistication between the two parties. However it should be noted that, in general, Florida courts are reluctant to accept duress as a reason to find a prenuptial agreement invalid.
- It was poorly drafted: Finally, prenuptial agreements can be found unenforceable because of drafting problems. This is why it is so important to ensure that your agreement is drafted and reviewed by a qualified attorney. Specifically, an agreement might prove unenforceable because of misunderstandings, ambiguities, incomplete information or invalid provisions.
Ultimately, Florida courts will not find a prenuptial agreement invalid simply because one partner made a bad decision when signing it. Regret is not a good reason to set aside a prenuptial agreement. However, if there was any issue related to the process, or if there was bad faith used by one partner to induce the agreement, a prenup may be ruled invalid. Extreme care should always be taken when drafting, and litigating, prenuptial agreements.
Contact An Experienced Orlando Divorce Attorney
At the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. our team has extensive experience dealing with prenuptial agreements. If you have any questions about drafting a prenuptial agreement, signing an agreement, or dealing with an agreement during the divorce process, please do not hesitate to contact our office today at 407-521-7171. Our firm is based in Orlando and we proudly assist family law clients throughout Central Florida.