Articles Posted in Prenuptial agreements

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Paige Laurie, the granddaughter of Walmart founder James “Bud” Walton, married Patrick Bode Dubbert in a reportedly over-the-top ceremony in 2008. Prior to the marriage, the couple signed a premarital agreement that stated, should the marriage end, Laurie agreed to pay $30,000 per month in spousal support for half of the time the marriage lasted. Last spring, after nearly six years of marriage, Laurie filed for divorce.

Though Laurie has reportedly agreed to abide by the spousal support guidelines agreed upon in the premarital agreement, Dubbert has been trying to invalidate the prenup. While it may seem illogical to fight against an agreement that awards you nearly $1.1 million, Dubbert apparently believes that he requires substantially more support than previously agreed upon. Specifically, Dubbert has filed a lawsuit that requests support for the following “necessities” every month:

  • $40,000 – $60,000 for a rental home
  • $80,000 for entertainment
  • $30,000 for vacations
  • $10,000 for furniture
  • $6,700 for a personal chef
  • $5,000 for clothes purchases
  • $4,000 for a personal driver
  • $2,500 for a personal trainer
  • $1,000 for a personal stylist
  • $2,500 for charitable donations

These are only some of the necessities Dubbert cites, as the total amount amount adds to about $240,000 per month after taxes ($400,000 before taxes). Dubbert argues that because he no longer works for Laurie’s company, he requires such support to find a new way to support the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed.

Can a premarital agreement be invalidated?

Like any other type of contract, a premarital agreement has certain requirements in order to be enforceable. If such requirements are not met or other certain circumstances exist, it may be possible for one spouse to invalidate the agreement. The following are examples of reasons a prenup may be invalid:

  • One party signed under duress or coercion
  • One party did not have independent representation by an attorney
  • There was not full disclosure of a party’s financial situation
  • Terms are ambiguous or unconscionable
  • Promises made in the agreement were not kept
  • The agreement was not in writing

Specifically, Dubbert claims that he had originally retained legal counsel to review and negotiate the prenup but that Laurie had convinced him not to use the attorney due to a lack of experience with high-asset marriages. Dubbert also claims that he signed the premarital agreement under duress since Laurie’s parents allegedly presented him with an ultimatum that they would not pay for the wedding expenses if he did not sign. Whether or not these reasons will be enough to invalidate part or all the prenuptial agreement remains to seen, and even if the spousal support portion is invalidated, it seems unlikely that a court would approve Dubbert’s extravagant requests.

Contact a Boca Raton family law attorney today to schedule a free consultation

One does not need a Walton-esque family fortune to be able to benefit from a well-crafted premarital agreement. As a result, anyone considering getting married should discuss their circumstances with an attorney, as circumstances can and often do change. Alan Burton has been practicing family law in Florida for over 30 years and maintains offices in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale. To schedule a free consultation with Mr. Burton, call our offices at (954) 229-1660 or (954) 295-9222.

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Many couples wonder, for one reason or another, whether or not they should sign a premarital agreement (also known as a prenuptial agreement or “prenup”) prior to tying the knot. The following are some reasons you may want to consider having such an agreement in Florida.

  1. To know what you are getting into. Though engaged couples are ideally in love and know each other very well, some people may keep some important information secret. For example, one spouse may be embarrassed of significant debt or poor financial habits. A premarital agreement allows you to sit down and put financial issues out in the open so there are no surprises after marriage. If your partner does, in fact, have a high amount of debt, a premarital agreement can state that only your partner will be responsible for the repayment of that debt if you get divorced.
  2. To protect your property. If you have property that you owned pre-marriage and you plan to make it the family home, your spouse will likely be entitled to a share of it in the event of a divorce. Premarital agreements can state that you will retain full ownership of your property should a divorce occur.
  3. To protect a business. In the same way that you likely want to protect your property, you also want to protect any businesses that you own with a premarital agreement.
  4. You and your partner have significantly different wealth. If you are substantially wealthier than your partner, a premarital agreement can limit their access to your fortune if you get divorced. Not only will this preserve your wealth for you, but it can also assure you that your partner is marrying you for the right reasons, and not for your money. On the other hand, if your spouse has more wealth than you, you can use a premarital agreement to protect yourself in the event of a divorce.
  5. To protect your estate plan. If you have a specific estate plan that you would like to protect that may involve leaving certain heirlooms or property to individuals other than your spouse, you can address this in a premarital agreement.
  6. To plan to be a stay-at-home parent. If you and your partner have discussed this and you plan to quit working and stay home to care for your children and the household, you will inherently give up future income, job experience, and other professional opportunities that may make more challenging for you to support yourself if you get divorced. A premarital agreement can protect you by setting alimony that will ensure you are able to support yourself until you begin working again.
  7. To make a divorce easier. Many different issues are involved in a divorce and arguments over these issues can drag on. If you decide many issues ahead of time in a premarital agreement, it will help the divorce process go faster and more smoothly.

If you have any questions regarding premarital agreement, do not hesitate to call Boca Raton family law attorney Alan R. Burton for assistance today.

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More and more people, especially in Florida, are opting for the single life.

In Florida, there were 7.3 marriages per 1,000 people in the year 2010. Compare this rate to the 17.1 marriages per 1,000 people in the year 1940..

At the same time marriages are declining, the rate of divorce is increasing. In Florida, the divorce rate was 4.2 per 1,000 people in the year 2009. Just last year the divorce rate was an astonishing 76% of all marriages. You can read more about these statistics in a recent article reported in the Ledger.com.
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If you are contemplating marriage you need to be aware of these statistics. You need to prepare yourself for the worst and hope for the best. Prenuptial agreements may be a good idea in light of these kind of statistics. Plan ahead for the worst scenario, and protect yourself and your assets prior to making the important commitment that a marriage commands.

A prenuptial agreement is like an insurance policy, so to speak. You are insuring yourself against the potential for financial disaster should things not go your way. An experienced Boca Raton, Florida or Fort Lauderdale , Florida attorney, who has years of experience, can protect your interests. Make the call today to insure your future.

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Why is a prenuptial agreement important and what purpose does it serve? A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two adults, and it can cover a myriad of issues, limited only by the imagination of the contracting parties.
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A prenuptial agreement most definitely, and frequently will, alter the rights of the parties should a divorce subsequently occur. Many agreements provide for the complete waiver and relinquishment of alimony and other support obligations from one party to the other. However, under Florida law, a waiver of temporary alimony under an agreement is unenforceable. You may wish to confer and consult with an experienced divorce attorney regarding this, as well as any other aspects of a prenuptial agreement.

Valuable property rights can also be given up under the provisions of a prenuptial agreement. In Florida, marital assets are most frequently divided 50-50 upon a divorce, so if one party feels that they will be contributing to the marriage in a greater proportion, they might want to provide for that contingency.

The actress Courteney Cox, who is involved in a divorce proceeding with David Arquette, apparently overlooked the importance of a prenuptial agreement. You can read her story now by following the link to her story in Forbes.

Although a marriage is considered a “partnership”, that partnership does not necessarily have to be an equal partnership. This, in essence, is what a prenuptial agreement is all about. Courteney Cox may learn an expensive lesson in failing to participate in the execution of a prenuptial agreement.

Prenuptial agreements must, at a minimum, include complete financial disclosure by both parties; be executed without duress; and each party should have independent legal advice. Many times the validity of agreements are challenged, so a financial sanction should be assessed against the challenger who does not succeed in their endeavor to void an agreement.

Further information may be obtained on this area of the law by contacting Alan R. Burton, Esq. directly. Appointments are available in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale.

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There is a presumption that a prenuptial agreement was entered into freely and voluntarily. Usually each party to the agreement has had the opportunity to be advised by their own attorney, and each party has made a complete and total financial disclosure of their assets and liabilities tio the other party.

Prenuptial agreements usually contain a provision for prevailing party attorney’s fees. This means that if you decide to challenge the validity of a prenuptial agreement that contains a prevailing party attorney’s fee clause, you will be held responsible for those attorney’s fees if your challenge is not successful and the agreement is upheld.

The Supreme Court of Florida resolved this issue in June of 2005 when they decided the case of Lashkajani v. Lashkajani, 911 So.2d 1154 (2005).. The court’s ruling was clear and precise. The court held that prenuptial agreement provisions awarding attorney’s fees and costs to the prevailing party in litigation regarding the validity and enforceability of a prenuptial agreement are enforceable.

The point to be made is is a simple one. Proceed with extreme caution if you are considering a challenge to a prenuptial agreement. The potential cost may well outweigh any benefits you are seeking to achieve by virtue of your challenge.