premarital agreement

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A premarital agreement, also known as a prenuptial agreement or antenuptial agreement, is a contract made by the parties to a marriage prior to the marriage. 

The agreement may determine matters such as one party's rights in the estate of the other in the event of the death of one of the spouses. Such contracts also may determine what to do regarding issues that are likely to come up as a result of divorce, such as alimony or property division. Such agreements must meet the requirements of contract law, with the exception that separate consideration is not required in most jurisdictions.

After marriage, a premarital agreement can be amended by the agreement of both parties in a postnuptial agreement. The agreement can also be revoked entirely by agreement of the parties.

Enforcement of a prenuptial agreement is subject to the normal requirements of contract law. Courts will declare prenuptial agreements void if they were not entered into voluntarily; were a product of fraud, duress, or coercion; or were unconscionable when executed.

Florida’s §61.079 defines a premarital agreement as “an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage.” An agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties, but no consideration is necessary. Importantly, §61.709(4b) specifies that “The right of a child to support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.”

[Last updated in January of 2024 by the Wex Definitions Team]