FL Supreme Court Ruling: Prenup Is Contract That Cannot Be Broken

The Florida Supreme Court ruled that the terms of a prenuptial agreement stand even if the contract turns out to be a unfavorable for one of the parties well after it has been signed. The ruling came after a Boca Raton woman sought to change the terms of the prenup she had signed over 20 years ago.

The Court determined that the woman “freely and voluntarily” entered into her prenuptial agreement in 1986, and has to abide by a provision that prevents her from claiming any right to property titled in her husband’s name even if he bought it or it increased in value during their 22-year marriage.

In the ruling, Justice Polston wrote a “contract is a contract.” “Where a contract is clear and unambiguous, it must be enforced pursuant to its plain language,” Polston said.

The Florida Supreme Court agreed to consider the case because other appeals courts viewed similar prenuptial agreements and ruled that prenuptial agreements could not surpass a spouse’s claim to their partners “earnings, assets acquired with those earnings and the enhanced value of the other spouse’s non-marital property resulting from marital labor or funds.”

The Supreme Court said the prenuptial agreement the Boca Raton couple signed was drafted by attorneys working for both spouses, and the wife had plenty of opportunities to change the terms of the agreement.

Even though the woman is receiving $1.9 million over seven years from her ex-husband according to their prenuptial agreement, she would have received much more had the Florida Supreme Court upheld the other appellate court decisions that mandated much more detail before allowing a prenuptial agreement to trump state divorce laws.
Under Florida divorce law, spouses divvy up assets that have accrued during the marriage. In this case of the divorced Boca Raton couple, the prenuptial agreement had more weight than the state’s standard division of assets law.

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