Prenuptial agreements are not only for rich couples in Florida with multi-million dollar checking accounts and real estate holding companies. Couples that have relatively modest assets may benefit from prenuptial agreements for a number of different reasons. A prenuptial agreement can allow spouses to set their own rules about alimony, inheritance and business assets so that those matters are not left in the control of the court system in the event of divorce.
When a couple goes through a divorce without a prenuptial agreement, a judge may have a lot of power to decide how the marital assets are divided between the two spouses. Because Florida is an equitable distribution state, a judge can divide the marital assets in a way that the court deems "fair", even if this is not always equal. A judge may also order one spouse to make ongoing alimony payments to the other spouse.
Separate assets that were acquired before the date of marriage are usually protected from property division even if a divorcing couple has no prenuptial agreement. If spouses want to keep assets that are acquired during their marriage separate in the event of divorce, they will need a prenuptial agreement to do this.
An attorney may be able to help a divorcing spouse negotiate the division of assets whether or not there is a prenuptial agreement to use as a guideline. Divorcing spouses are sometimes able to settle property division issues outside of court so that a judge does not make the final decision about what is equitable. If a spouse is worried that the other partner is withholding financial information, an attorney may be able to work with a forensic accountant to locate all of the assets.