A prenuptial agreement, also commonly referred to as a prenup or referred to in Florida as a premarital agreement, may be a good idea in many situations. A family attorney can discuss your unique situation and draw up an agreement that suits your specific needs. When it comes to protecting your estate in particular, there are many ways a prenuptial agreement may be helpful.
It Can Provide or Limit Alimony
Florida defines marriages as short-term (less than seven years), moderate-term (between seven and 17 years) or long-term (greater than 17 years). In short-term marriages, a spouse is not necessarily entitled to any alimony; however, you can state in your prenuptial agreement that the spouse does receive alimony in your situation. Similarly, in marriages greater than 17 years, the spouse may be entitled to permanent alimony which you can limit in the premarital agreement. Every marriage and family situation differs, and you may want a specific arrangement which can be defined with the help of a family attorney.
It Defines Expectations During and After a Marriage
A prenuptial agreement is not necessarily utilized only to protect assets in the event of a divorce. Because a premarital agreement is not something that you should present to your soon-to-be-spouse without discussion, you can define how the marriage will operate financially ahead of time as a couple. This can be especially beneficial in the case of blended families when there is a need to define whether one spouse will become a stay-at-home parent to raise all the children or if the parent making more money will contribute more to the household expenses.
Another benefit is that a premarital agreement can define what will happen to the estate and widow or widower in the event of a death. This agreement can determine the financial support for a widowed spouse. It can also protect the inheritance of adult children from a previous marriage.
You Can Protect a Family-Owned Business
If you and your family own a business, it may be a good idea to include that asset in your agreement. During a divorce, a business may be cited as part of the estate. A premarital agreement can protect the family-owned business from the non-interested party, keeping it entirely in the family in the event of a divorce.
A prenuptial agreement is not a predictor of divorce, but rather a way to protect your assets in the event of a divorce or even after a death. It can also be referenced to provide for your spouse after your death. It is important for marriages to include honest conversations, and a prenuptial agreement is simply a way of formalizing those conversations in writing. If you are in need of assistance from a family attorney to discuss this alongside your future spouse, call Wagstaff Family Law Office at (727) 584-8182. We offer full estate planning services including premarital agreements.