Why is there so much work that goes into preparing a prenuptial agreement?
This is a good question because a lot of times people think that a prenuptial agreement is going to be basically a cocktail napkin type agreement, one page that just says you keep yours I keep mine. Sign on the dotted line. In Florida this is incorrect.
The law is very specific and case law is specific about the different requirements which you must have when creating a prenuptial agreement and the fact that financial disclosure of assets and income and liabilities is a large component really puts a necessary burden on both parties to make sure that they have disclosed everything to the other side.
Now, you may be asking how do I do this?
Well, it takes time and takes preparation and takes documentation to be able to prove that you have provided the requisite financial disclosure and requisite information to your soon to be spouse. A blanket statement of “I know what the other person has!” is not as strong as these are the documents that we have provided back and forth and financial statements by both parties showing their current assets and their current liabilities and also some proof of income of the party at the time.
Now, why is this important?
This is extraordinarily important because many prenuptial agreements basically state that the laws of the State of Florida will not apply if you end up getting a divorce. Therefore, a principle such as equitable distribution and alimony basically do not apply if you have already stated how you will be distributing property and what the alimony award, if any, will be so therefore, it’s a very large burden to make sure that you have done everything necessary and that the agreement was entered into voluntarily and freely by both parties, no one was under duress and they’ve had full and complete disclosure during the process.
Therefore, do yourself a favor and hire an attorney that won’t just create a cocktail napkin for you to sign and someday possibly have it set aside.
Go to an attorney that has experience in creating prenuptial and postnuptial agreements and someone that will create a document that’s a true formal contract executed, witnessed and that is appropriate under the laws of the State of Florida. Find someone that will make sure that you are adequately disclosing everything financially-related prior to entering into the prenuptial agreement. Anything else, is just a quick-fix that might cause headaches in the future.
By investing a little more time and resources towards this important step, this will save you time, stress and money in the long run. In the short run, it is stressful and it can be time consuming but it is necessary.
It’s better to go through this process when the two of you still love each other, rather than during a divorce, when you might not feel the same “loving” feelings towards each other.