The way that prenuptial agreements affects property division during a divorce in Florida might be changing. A recent ruling by the Florida Supreme Court set an interesting precedent regarding the terms of a prenuptial agreement.
The ruling noted that if a prenuptial agreement is voluntarily executed, the terms of the agreement stand even if they aren't fair and violate Florida law. In this case, the law that was violated was the law that states spouses share the assets that are earned during the course of the marriage.
This unanimous decision upheld the ruling by a Palm Beach County Circuit judge and in the 4th District Court of Appeal. In short, the ruling noted that if the prenuptial agreement is clear and unambiguous, the enforcement must be in accordance with the plain language in the prenuptial agreement.
In the case that led to this ruling, a 28-year-old woman signed a prenuptial agreement with a 46-year-old man in 1986. The terms of the agreement said that she couldn't lay claim to any of the property that was titled in the man's name. The agreement noted that it didn't matter when the property was acquired, even if it was acquired during the marriage.
The prenuptial agreement in question was drafted by lawyers working for both parties. During the process, the woman didn't object to the terms. She willingly signed the agreement. That led the state's highest court to rule that a prenuptial agreement is a contract that must be treated the same as any other contract.
This ruling can have a significant impact on prenuptial agreements and property division. In both cases, you must ensure that your rights are protected.
Source: My Palm Beach Post, "Supreme Court ruling in Boca divorce firms up force of pre-nups," Jane Musgrave, Sep. 10, 2015