Chapter 61: 2017 Legislative Changes to Florida’s Uniform Premarital Agreement Act

Uniform Premarital Agreement ActIn 2017, Florida legislated procedural rules reform to the enforcement of premarital agreements. The reform amends the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) of 2013, Section 61.079 Premarital Agreements of Chapter 61: Dissolution of Marriage; Support; Time Sharing. Chapter 61 of the UPAA outlines procedures to premarital agreements, providing rules to governing the validity of “pre-nuptial” agreements in Florida. Referred to as “premarital agreements”, Florida law only considers such agreements in writing.

Procedural Enforcement

According to Chapter 61, Premarital Agreements are enforceable solely where the marriage itself is considered, and of no other circumstance or matter. Amendment; Revocation or Abandonment §61.079(6) of the reform legislation provides that a premarital agreement can be modified or dismissed by spouses solely by written agreement, signed by both parties. Under Florida law, procedural guidelines to amended agreement, revocation, or abandonment of a premarital agreement are enforceable without consideration. In a case where a marriage contract is “void”, a premarital agreement is enforceable only to the extent that it will mitigate inequitable results§61.079(8).

Enforceability may be called into question if the party whom the enforcement is sought against did not execute the agreement voluntarily, or if the agreement is evidenced to be fraudulent or the result of a coercive or overreaching act. Florida courts can cite unconscionability if it has been evidenced by one party that there has been no fair and reasonable disclosure of property or debts; or a party did not expressly or voluntarily waive the right to disclosure in writing; or the other party could not reasonably have adequate knowledge of property, or of financial obligations.

For pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements entered into prior to October 1, 2007 in Florida, modification of an agreement can be performed by a spouse where it is established that a premarital agreement was deceitful, fraudulent, or reached under duress, coercion, or an overreaching act. Misrepresentation must be established by the spouse asserting invalidity until the fact is considered “unfair” or “unreasonable” by a court. The burden of proof shifts to the spouse asserting the original agreement to be valid. Equitable defenses considered under Florida’s Statute of Limitations in the recent reform, limit the time for enforcement however, including estoppel and laches available to either party §61.079(9).

Foreign Prenuptial Agreements

Florida court rulings on foreign prenuptial and post nuptial agreements (Estate of Nicole Santos, 648 So. 2d 277 (Fla. 4th DCA 1995)), follow federal rules on procedure to the “conflicts of laws” rule. Lex loci contract us (where the contract was made), established by the U.S. Supreme Court in Scudder v. Union National Bank, 91 U.S. 406, 23 L.Ed. 245 (1876); determines that where location of agreement and performance on contract are not of the same jurisdiction, the location where the contract was first affirmed, there in will govern matters of execution; rule interpretation; and validity.

Seeking legal advice about a premarital agreement in Florida? Contact The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire at 561-655-8844 for the legal help you need and deserve. We are here to help.

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