In our last post, we began speaking about Florida law concerning prenuptial agreements, particularly what parties can and cannot address in these agreements. Here we’ll take a brief look at how these agreements are enforced by courts.
As we noted last time, prenuptial agreements are not always enforced by courts, depending on how the agreement was executed, what it deals with, and whether it generally complies with state law. Florida law identifies several circumstances under which a prenuptial agreement will not be enforced in divorce. One of these is when the agreement was not reached with the full consent of one of the parties. A prenuptial agreement may also be unenforceable if it was reached as a result of “fraud, duress, coercion or overreaching.”
Prenuptial agreements may also be thrown out by Florida courts when the agreement is deemed to have been unconscionable at the time of execution and when, prior to execution, a party was not given “fair and reasonable disclosure” of the assets and liabilities of the other party, never waived any right to such disclosure, and did not or could not reasonably have had knowledge of the property and assets.
There are a number of things couples should do to ensure their agreement is ultimately enforceable in divorce, including retaining separate attorneys, giving plenty of time for negotiating and hammering out the agreement before the wedding, ensuring that the agreement itself uses unambiguous language, and taking an above-board approach with the other party. Working with an experienced attorney, of course, can help to ensure these things and to support the integrity of the process.
Source: Florida Legislature, “The 2014 Florida Statutes: Title VI; Chapter 61,” Accessed Nov. 17, 2014.