This is the next article in my discussion on the topic of “legal separation” in the state of Florida. My last post discussed how Florida spouses can use a postnuptial agreement to gain protections upon a divorce. It is important to understand, however, that such protections are not as great as those provided by states which recognize a formal legal separation. Specifically, Florida law does not allow for separated parents to obtain a child custody order without filing a divorce. If you are considering separating, but wish to remain married, then it is important that you retain an attorney to assist you with better understanding your situation. In this article we will discuss another important topic – challenging the validity of a postnuptial agreement. If you or a loved one are in need of assistance then contact my office today to speak with a Melbourne lawyer.
A Florida spouse can challenge the validity of a postnuptial agreement at the time of a divorce
A postnuptial agreement is presented to the Court at the time of a Florida divorce. The party presenting the document will typically claim that the issues which it addresses should be considered resolved. In other words, the party presenting the agreement will argue that the Court does not need to decide on issues of marital property, spousal support, etc. as there is already an agreement in place. It is possible, however, for the other party to challenge the agreement and ask the Court to consider it invalid. If the Court invalidates the agreement then it will be as if the document did not exist. Such an invalidation will result in the Court making a ruling on issues of marital assets and debts, as well as spousal support, as it would in any other divorce case.
The Court will look at several factors when considering whether a postnuptial agreement is valid. These include, among other things, whether the document accurately disclosed the assets and debts of both sides. Also, the Court will consider whether the party challenging the agreement was given an adequate opportunity to consider it before signing the document. If, for example, the party challenging the agreement did not see it until an hour before the wedding and was told to “sign it,” then this would weigh in their favor. Also, the Court will consider whether the party challenging the agreement had obtained the advice of an attorney before signing the document. Again, these are just some of the factors which the Court will consider. It is important to remember that how the Court will rule in any situation is always going to depend on the specific facts of the case.
A Florida spouse should consult with an attorney to determine if a postnuptial agreement is valid
If you and your spouse are going your separate ways then it is important to consult with an attorney in regard to the validity of a postnuptial agreement. Unfortunately, many spouses make the mistake of simply assuming that the agreement is valid and that there is nothing they can do about the situation. By retaining counsel, however, one can take steps to ensure that their interests are fully protected. As a Melbourne family law lawyer, I am experienced in handling such matters. If you are in need of assistance then contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation. We also serve the cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.