The New Law on Prenuptial Agreements: What You Need To Know!

However, the Florida Supreme Court has recently issued an opinion in the Hahamovitch divorce case affirming the Florida 4th District Court of Appeals decision that despite certain categories of assets or income not being included in a 22-year-old prenuptial agreement, it was the intent of the parties that all categories of assets and income be excludable. The 4th DCA opinion stated: “The parties prenuptial agreement was entered into freely and voluntarily, both parties had legal counsel throughout its preparation and execution stages, there were multiple drafts of the prenuptial agreement prior to signing the final contract, and their lawyers and their accountants expended great effort in drafting a prenuptial agreement that was fair, reasonable and one that wife and husband intended to be bound by.” The fact that certain categories of assets or income were not specifically included was of no import to the 4th. Interestingly, other District Court of Appeals had felt otherwise and had ruled the exact opposite on similar language.

In Hahahovitch, the Wife was arguing that because the prenuptial agreement made no specific reference to enhancement in value of the nonmarital property attributable to marital labor or funds, the enhanced value was subject to equitable distribution. Similarly, she also argued that because there was not a specific provision that the husband’s earnings would be his separate property, they were not protected either. Because of the broad language in the prenuptial agreement including a waiver and release of “all rights and claims to the other spouse’s nonmarital property.”, the 4th District Court of Appeals looked to the intent of the parties, not what specific categories had been left out.

The Florida Supreme Court accepted the appeal based upon certified conflict with the decisions of the 2nd (Irwin) and 3rd (Valdes) District Court of Appeals. The ruling specifically disapproved those decisions and affirmed the reasoning of the 4th. As a result of this ruling, prenuptial agreements that contain broad provisions regarding waiver of assets and income will now be enforced uniformly across the State of Florida.

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