Common Mistakes Made With Premarital Agreements, And How To Avoid Them
No one wants to think about divorce before they have even gotten married, but a premarital agreement is a very practical document to have for many couples. While these contracts can protect both sides in the event that the marriage does not work out, they are also some of the most misunderstood documents in family law.
Additionally, simply having a premarital agreement in place is not enough. You must ensure it is enforceable by the courts, which it may not be if you have made mistakes while drafting yours. Below our Orlando family lawyer explains the most common mistakes made, and how you can avoid them.
Forcing Your Partner to Sign the Agreement
Contrary to what many television shows and movies would have you believe, one person cannot have an agreement drafted and then force their partner to sign it. Premarital agreements are legal contracts and as such, both parties must enter into the agreement voluntarily.
If you force your spouse to sign one, they can argue duress during your divorce, which would render the contract null and void. Always work with your partner when drafting the agreement so the defense of duress is not available, and so you are both on the same page about what the agreement entails.
Not Signing the Contract
There are many important parts of a premarital agreement but perhaps the most crucial is the signature of you and the other party. Again, premarital agreements are legal contracts and each party must agree to the terms in writing. Without a signature from both people, there is no way to prove that they ever agreed to the terms and the document will likely be rendered void. It may seem like common sense, but always make sure your contract is signed.
Including Unenforceable Terms
Premarital agreements can include many different terms but they usually revolve around assets, liabilities, and other property division issues. There are certain elements you cannot include in a premarital agreement, including terms involving child custody or child support. You also cannot include household responsibilities, such as which party will be responsible for mowing the lawn or driving the children to school.
If you include terms such as these in your agreement, a judge may render it void. The court has wide discretion when determining whether to simply strike out certain parts of the agreement, or whether they should void the entire contract. Always speak to an Orlando family lawyer that will know what you can and cannot include in order for your contract to be deemed enforceable.
Call Our Family Lawyers in Orlando for Help with Your Agreement
At Anderson & Ferrin, our Orlando family lawyers can help you and your partner draft an agreement that is fair to each of you and that will protect your future. Call us today at 407-412-7041 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about these agreements, and what you should include in yours.