Florida Court Examines Foreign Prenuptial Agreements and Conditional Alimony

It is not uncommon for a couple to take a practical view of marriage and enter into prenuptial agreements prior to their wedding. Florida courts will typically enforce prenuptial agreements entered into in Florida as long as they were executed in accordance with Florida law. It is not always immediately evident, however, if foreign prenuptial agreements should be upheld. Recently, a Florida court issued an opinion discussing the analysis that must be conducted to determine whether foreign prenuptial agreements are enforceable. If you have questions regarding how a divorce could impact your financial rights and obligations, it is in your best interest to contact a Miami divorce lawyer as soon as possible.

History of the Case

It is reported that the husband and the wife married in Quebec in July 1992. Prior to marrying, they entered into a prenuptial agreement (foreign prenuptial agreement). The agreements stated, among other things, that they adopted the separate property regime set forth by the terms of the Civil Code of the Province of Quebec and that they would pay for any marital expenses in proportion to their respective capabilities.

Allegedly, the parties maintained separate accounts throughout their marriage. They became residents of Florida in 2009. Ten years later, the wife instituted a petition for dissolution of the marriage in which she requested alimony and equitable distribution in accordance with Florida law. In the husband’s response to the petition, he asserted that they largely had separate rather than marital assets and argued that the foreign prenuptial agreement should govern the distribution of any marital property. The case proceeded to trial, after which the court found that the marital residences purchased by the husband were subject to equitable distribution. The husband appealed.

Foreign Prenuptial Agreements and Conditional Alimony

The appellate court reversed the judgment of dissolution to the extent that it failed to allocate the couple’s property in accordance with their foreign prenuptial agreement. In doing so, the appellate court explained that choice of law provisions would typically be enforced as long as the laws of the foreign forum are not contrary to Florida’s public policy.

In the subject case, the appellate court found that the provisions of the couple’s foreign prenuptial agreement did not conflict with Florida’s public policy. As such, it held that the marital property should be redistributed in a manner that complied with the terms of the agreement and reversed the trial court’s equitable distribution award. Finally, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s award of conditional alimony to the wife, noting that she would likely need alimony if the husband prevailed on his appeal.

Talk to a Knowledgeable Miami Attorney About Your Rights

A prenuptial agreement can impact a party’s duties and privileges with regard to a marital estate, but only if the court deems it enforceable. If you have questions about a prenuptial agreement or the economic ramifications of divorce, it is wise to talk to an attorney. The knowledgeable Miami attorneys of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., are proficient at handling complex divorce cases, and if we represent you, we will help you fight to protect your interests. We have an office in Aventura, and we frequently represent parties in family law cases in Miami. You can reach us through our online form or at 800-596-0579 to set up a meeting.