The Florida Supreme Court recently confirmed decisions of a trial court and appellate court upholding the provisions of a prenuptial agreement. The prenup bound the wife to a waiver of her right to any property acquired by her husband during the marriage, including income obtained through marital labor or funds.
This decision emphasizes the need for experienced legal advice during the creation of a premarital agreement to ensure the protection of client’s rights in the event of dissolution of marriage or divorce.
Dianne and Harry Hahamovitch were married in 1986. A month before their wedding, the couple entered into a prenuptial agreement containing provisions on waiver of property rights by Dianne in case of divorce or dissolution of marriage, and title presumptions for property acquired in the name of either one of the spouses. The couple have 2 children out of this marriage. They filed for divorce in 2008.
Prenuptial Agreement Is Valid
In dealing with the issue of property division between the spouses, the trial court ruled that the prenuptial agreement was valid and must be applied in their situation.
In particular, the court found that:
- The prenup was entered into freely and voluntarily
- Parties were advised by legal counsel during the formation of the prenup
- Accountants and legal counsels of the parties helped in drafting the prenup
- The agreement was fair and reasonable at the time the couple signed it.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals also found that the agreement was valid and through it, Dianne waived her right to any property that was registered in Harry’s name, including property that was acquired during the marriage. The appellate court also decided that the provisions of the prenup agreement also covered any appreciation in value of property exclusively owned by either spouse, regardless of any marital effort or labor that went into its improvement.
Impact of Prenup on Property Division
The Supreme Court confirmed both rulings and declared that the prenup contains broad provisions that clearly cover all property solely owned by each spouse at the time the agreement was entered into and future property. The high court also said that the language of the prenup was clear and unambiguous — each spouse clearly waived all their rights and claims to property of the other spouse.
In Clearwater, Florida, the Law Firm for Family Law, founded by Gary E. Williams has experience in over 1,800 cases involving various family law matters such as divorce and property division. Mr. Williams is one of only 17 Board Certified Experts in Marital and Family Law in Pinellas County, Florida.
If you are contemplating divorce, it’s important to talk to a family law attorney about your rights and legal options. Call us today at (727) 531-8737 to speak to Mr Williams about your situation.