Our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators recognize that there are several factors that must be taken into consideration when conducting a mediation where the spouses have signed a prenuptial agreement(s). Prenuptial agreements are commonly used by parties who previously went through a divorce and desire to protect their own non-marital assets in case their upcoming marriage also ends in a divorce.
In general, it is normally the party with the most assets who wants the prenuptial agreement. The other party does not, and that party can be extremely hurt by the fact that the other is asking for one. It is also very common for the party requesting a prenuptial agreement to make such a request after the parties are engaged and shortly before the wedding ceremony – and long after family and friends have made travel arrangements as well as after deposits have been paid for a hall, food and a band.
When a marriage ends where there is a prenuptial agreement in place, the party who reluctantly signed the agreement can be very angry about the fact his or her spouse has more financial resources which enables that spouse to resume single life without having to struggle with money woes.
In Florida, a prenuptial agreement is governed by F.S. § 61.079 and is officially known as a “premarital agreement”. It is Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc.’s experience that people believe that his or her prenuptial agreement protects all property they owned individually when the prenuptial agreement was signed. Most prenuptial agreements provide that upon a divorce neither spouse will have any claim to alimony or assets belonging to other. It also prohibits the other spouse from making claims property against the deceased spouse’s estate for property that is protected by the premarital agreement.
In order for a prenuptial agreement to be valid, a full and complete financial disclosure of the assets and debts is required in writing as well as an accurate valuation of assets that the party owns and debts as that the individual owes.
In addition, a spouse can challenge a prenuptial agreement based on Florida contract defenses that include fraud, deceit, duress, coercion, misrepresentation, or overreaching in the execution of the prenuptial agreement.
Further, the timing of a premarital agreement is also important. One court has held that a prenuptial agreement provided to a spouse two days before the wedding was insufficient; while another court found that two weeks before the wedding was sufficient.
The determination of the validity of prenuptial agreement can be a complicated legal issue. If two spouses try their case before a Florida Family Law Court, a judge must determine whether the postnuptial agreement is valid and enforceable.
In mediation, the two spouses are able to determine how to handle a prenuptial agreement. While our Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediators at Mediation of Coral Springs, Inc. can assist spouses in trying to fashion the terms of an agreement, a mediator is unable to give the spouses any legal advice concerning the validity of prenuptial agreement. If you are preparing for a mediation where the validity of a prenuptial agreement is an issue, you should strongly consider having the assistance of legal counsel at mediation.