How Pre- and Postnuptial Agreements Benefit Same Sex Couples
There are few greater joys than finding a partner that you want to spend your life with. For same sex couples, the ability to legally cement their union is a recent and hard won freedom. Unfortunately, that does not make them immune to the same types of issues and struggles all married couples face. During a same sex divorce, issues pertaining to the division of marital property can arise, particularly if the couple lived together for an extended period before tying the knot. While pre- and post-nuptial agreements may seem unromantic, they are a practical way to ensure the rights of both you and your current or potential spouse are protected.
How Property Division Laws Can Impact Same Sex Marriages
Guidelines for distributing property and assets during a divorce are listed under Section 61.075 of the Florida Statutes. Unlike community property states, such as California, where assets are divided equally between spouses, the Sunshine State aims for a more equitable distribution, based on facts about the marriage and the individuals involved. Factors the court considers in dividing property include:
- The length of the marriage;
- The economic circumstances of each party and their earning potential;
- The contributions and/or sacrifices each partner made in support of the other’s career;
- The contributions of each spouse to acquiring the asset, as well as towards either increasing or decreasing its value.
In these proceedings, only marital assets are considered, which may take the form of financial accounts, real estate and personal property, such as furniture, artwork, and antiques, as well as investments such as pensions and deferred compensation earned during the marriage. This is where it can get tricky for same sex partners, who may have been in a committed relationship long before being able to legally wed. If assets and other property were not held jointly and listing both partner’s names, it could become a costly and time consuming point of contention in the event of a break up.
How A Pre- or Postnuptial Agreement Can Help
By drafting a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage, future spouses can specify ownership of previously acquired assets, while addressing issues related to asset division and spousal support in the event of a divorce. A USA Today report on same sex marriages states that these documents can be particularly useful to couples who have been together for a considerable length of time before getting married, and can help to clarify their mutual understanding at the time hey entered into their union or when property or assets were acquired. If you did not draft a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married, it is not too late. Post-nuptial agreements have become increasingly common, offering the same opportunities for ensuring each spouse’s rights are protected.
Contact Our Florida Family Law Firm Today
If you are considering whether a pre- or postnuptial agreement may be right for you or have other legal issues regarding same sex marriage that you need addressed, contact Hancock & Associates, P.A. today. Our Florida family law attorneys have the experience and knowledge you need to help to answer your questions, while acting as a strong legal advocate to defend your best interests.