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You Already Have A Prenup

Congratulations, you are getting married!  You found the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life, and now you have a big, bright future ahead!  But now the P-word has come up: Prenup.

You and your fiance may be wondering whether to get a prenuptial agreement, also referred to as a premarital agreement.  It may be that one of you has significantly more assets than the other.  Perhaps there is a family business in play.  Maybe you have children from a prior relationship that you want to protect or you have other estate-planning needs.  Or maybe you just want to plan for all possible contingencies.

Prenup

So if you are considering a premarital agreement, there is something you should keep in mind:  You already have a prenup.

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Prenuptial Agreements for Same-Sex Couples

In the aftermath of the turbulent election season, are you and your partner seeking to add stability to your lives by tying the knot?  Have you been in a long-term relationship and are now seeking to formalize and get legal recognition for it?

You may want to consider getting a prenuptial agreement.  You and your partner may have a certain way of handling your finances.  Do you wish to keep certain funds separate to maintain a degree of independence?  Do you want to keep other funds joint for your mutual enjoyment?  Do you want to clarify which of your assets should be considered non-marital and which should be seen as common property?

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Protecting Your Tampa Bay Business With A Prenuptial Agreement

Under Florida divorce law, businesses are subject to equitable distribution.  This essentially means that it can be considered a marital asset that is divided as part of the resolution of all divorce-related issues.

Small-business owners, who have shed blood, sweat, and tears for their endeavor, find it surprising and frightening that a business might be divided in divorce.  Further, this can be disruptive to the spouse of the small business owner; if the business begins failing due to protracted fighting or litigation, the spouse’s ability to receive alimony or child support is greatly reduced.

Protecting Your Small Business

One way to protect a business from the fallout of divorce is to enter into a prenuptial agreement or, if you are already married, into a postnuptial agreement.

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Prenuptial Agreements: Divorce Planning or Collaborative Marriage Planning?

Prenuptial agreements have been around for quite some time in Florida.  They are an agreement between people who are about to wed in which the parties set out their rights and responsibilities in a written document that is executed in front of a notary and two witnesses.  Prenuptial agreements are oftentimes thought of as “divorce planning” so as to avoid a future nasty court battle, should the parties’ marriage not work out.

But who wants to plan a divorce, especially when you are not even done making the wedding plans?

There is an alternative.  It is a new process known as Collaborative Marriage Planning.

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Florida Divorce, Financial Affidavits, and Privacy

In almost any Florida family law matter that involves financial issues, such as child support, alimony, division of property and debt, or attorney’s fees, parties are required to exchange and file Florida Family Law Financial Affidavits.  Financial Affidavits outline each party’s source(s) of income, as well as expenses, assets, and liabilities.

And, when they are filed, they become part of the public record, accessible by anyone.

Most people, for any number reasons, do not want their financial profile to become public.  And yet, when people go through the traditional litigated divorce, that’s exactly what happens.

But it does not need to be that way.

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Does Florida Recognize Legal Separation?

Many jurisdictions require spouses to be legally separated for a certain period of time (oftentimes about 6-12 months) before they can get a divorce.

Florida does not have such a requirement.

However, there are many couples out there who wish to go through a “trial separation” without taking the leap of divorce.  Many want an interim step short of divorce to maintain the possibility that the parties can work things out later and reconcile.  Does Florida have any mechanisms to provide protections to spouses and children during a trial separation?

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Drafting an Enforceable Florida Prenuptial Agreement

You probably have heard stories of people who had prenuptial agreements, thought their assets were secure, and yet, at the time of the divorce, had those prenuptial agreements thrown out by a judge for being unfair, overreaching, or being executed without sufficient financial disclosure.

To address the concerns of those who are thinking of getting a prenup, I recently wrote an article for The World of Collaborative Practice Magazine in which I discussed an essential process to utilize if you want an enforceable agreement:

I am seeing more and more clients – especially those who have previously experienced marriage and divorce – come to my office to learn about prenuptial (also known as premarital) agreements. Though they certainly do not go into the marriage planning to divorce, they know the statistics and want a prenuptial agreement to protect them and ensure that they do not get trapped in endless litigation later on.

At the same time, I find fewer and fewer family law attorneys who are willing to draft prenuptial agreements. Lawyers fear that, for whatever reason, the agreement could later be found to be unenforceable. Void prenuptial agreements create, at best, client dissatisfaction with the drafter and, at worst, risk of a malpractice suit.

Nevertheless, the demand for prenuptial agreements is increasing. How does an attorney minimize the risk that the agreement will be invalidated? The answer is close to our hearts, given that the interdisciplinary collaborative family law process is tailor-made for drafting prenuptial agreements.

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Tampa Prenuptial Agreements: Collaborative-Style

Potential clients come into my Tampa office all the time to learn about prenuptial agreements, how they can protect interests, and how they can provide for a more certain future.

For all these clients, I suggest that they utilize the collaborative method when developing a prenuptial agreement with their future spouse.

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