In Florida, any divorce can have challenges that lead to disagreements between the parties. If, however, it is a divorce in which the couple has accrued substantial assets, it might grow even more contentious. For some, the assets were accumulated after the marriage and there was nothing to protect beforehand. For others, one party might have been wealthy prior to the marriage and wanted the protection of a premarital agreement. If such an agreement was completed, it is important to understand key issues related to it in the divorce.
Things to remember in a high-asset divorce with a premarital agreement
The premarital agreement will stipulate how certain issues will be addressed if the couple gets a divorce. That will detail how property is split, if there is spousal support and how much it will be, estate planning considerations and more. Child support cannot be limited by a premarital agreement. The agreement went into effect once the couple was legally married. Both sides should be cognizant of possible problems with the agreement and when it can and cannot be enforced.
The agreement might be called into question if it was not signed voluntarily; if the signing party was forced, coerced or done under duress; or if it was unfair. Regarding a lack of fairness (legally referred to as an unconscionable agreement), the signing party might not have had a full and reasonable understanding of what the property holdings of the other party were. The person is required to have signed a waiver saying that the disclosure is not needed. Or the person could say that he or she had no reasonable way to know what the property holdings were. With spousal support, if the agreement says it will not be paid but the party who would have received it would then need public assistance without it, the court can ignore the premarital agreement and award what it considers fair spousal support.
Legal guidance in a divorce is key in any circumstance
While a premarital agreement is designed to state how a divorce will be handled, that does not mean it cannot be challenged. With a high net worth divorce, it is common for the party who signed it to examine the premarital agreement and question its validity while the person who claims to hold the assets wants it to be adhered to. When dividing property or determining spousal support, the premarital agreement can be crucial. Perhaps a renegotiation can be effective to avoid extensive litigation. Regardless of the perspective, it is wise to have professional help to look at the agreement and proceed accordingly.