"Prenups" - Financial Planning, Not Divorce Planning
Updated: Sep 7, 2019
A lot of folks think that a prenup is a way of telling your future spouse that you don’t trust them, when actually it’s simply a way to do financial planning together even if you never divorce.
Let’s start from the basic principle that once you’re married, everything you acquire (property, salary, retirement accounts, pensions, debt), regardless of who’s name it’s in is considered marital property that will be divided up in the event of a divorce. There are some exceptions to that, but this is the general rule.
You can agree to a different arrangement. A prenup is an Agreement you enter into before you get married that becomes effective when you get married. It makes clear what property each party will keep as their separate property, even if it’s acquired after they get married. It also can make clear what debt will be the responsibility of each party.
A prenup can also give each party the security of knowing that in the event of a divorce, certain things either will or won’t happen. For example, you can waive alimony ahead of time. Sometimes this gives both parties a sense of security to know that won’t be an issue if they end up divorcing. Remember that alimony is not exclusive to one sex or the other.
Although a lot of people picture a wife receiving alimony, in today’s world where both spouses usually work the income disparity may be the other way around.
An important component of the prenup is full and honest financial disclosure by both spouses. This helps ensure that not only do you enter into the Agreement fully informed, but it also ensures that the Agreement won’t be invalidated because financial information was withheld. The parties can waive the right to have full disclosure of the other parties property and obligations, but only in writing before the prenup is signed.
What can’t be in a prenup? Child support. Florida considers child support the right of the child, not the parent(s). Therefore, you can’t agree ahead of time what that would look like.
If you’re already married, you can still enter into an Agreement that addresses all of these issues. It’s called a post-nuptial agreement.