Prenuptial Agreement incomplete? Consider Plan “B”
This article was written by featured Family Law Attorney Michael H. Gora.
Q: My fiancée, and her mother, have planned a gigantic wedding, scheduled for about a month from now, in a large hotel in the northeast. Although I am forty-something years old, this will be my first marriage.
It will be my fiancée’s first marriage, as well. I have quite a bit of income and property, both inherited and earned. Long ago, I suggested a prenuptial agreement, she was reluctant, but we began negotiating about three months ago.
She seems to have a very aggressive attorney. The more we talk, and exchange financial information, the less likely the document will be finished before the violins begin to play the wedding march.
My attorney says that we should postpone the wedding, until we finish the negotiation. My fiancée, who has not mentioned this to her mother, says, “No way.” However, she agrees to enter into an agreement to sign a postnuptial agreement. My attorney said, “No way”.” Can you recommend any alternatives?
A: It sounds like its time to switch to “Plan B.” Sign a letter of agreement to go forward with the ceremonial wedding, but not to actually get married, until at least a month after the agreement is finalized. Take out no marriage license. You can begin living together, if you are not already doing so, as Florida has not recognized common law marriage for many years.
Your attorney correctly rejects the concept of entering into a contract to enter into a later contract. Such a contract would be unenforceable, under general contract law.
No matter what you are told, if your then wife refuses to negotiate with you after the marriage, your only alternative would be to get a divorce, or become subject to the general dissolution of marriage statues.
Signing a last minute prenuptial agreement would be dangerous. Some court, years in the future, might find that you coerced her into signing, and set aside the agreement.
Plan “B.” lets the two of you enjoy your wedding, and, after the honeymoon, negotiate your agreement, without the stress of the wedding plans bearing down on you. I suggest you be very tactful when you suggest the above. A kiss and a little jewelry might help.
Michael H. Gora, divorce attorney, has been certified by The Board of Legal Specialization of The Florida Bar as a specialist in matrimonial law, and is a partner with Shapiro Blasi Wasserman & Gora PA in Boca Raton.