Are Witnesses Necessary for Family Law Agreements?

A typical marriage contract concentrates on important things like alimony, estate planning, and property rights, to name a few. You may recognize them by their more familiar name of prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, but there are also others like marriage settlement agreements (MSA). To ensure no issues arise down the road such as being deemed invalid, it’s important that these contracts comply with all applicable state laws and you may also wish to have a Miami family law lawyer examine it.

In most cases, a court will uphold an oral marital arrangement, particularly if it is read in its entirety into the court record and the partners expressly commit to it in court.

Prior to the ceremony, the soon to be married couple sign a premarital arrangement that becomes effective once they marry. A prenuptial agreement is required to be in writing and signed by all parties if signed on or after October 1, 2007, the day Florida's Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) became effective. Older prenuptial agreements could have more complicated conditions.

A postnuptial agreement is signed when the couple is already together. Postmarital relationships are considered in the same way as premarital agreements and are governed by contract law rules.

An MSA is a contract between married partners – typically in the midst of a divorce – that lays out how they can handle legal matters such as land separation and alimony. They usually have to be in writing, but a witness isn’t always necessary.

When it comes to real estate or wills, the substance of a marital agreement can increase the execution requirements. For example, under probate law, if the marriage document has a clause about the potential drafting or termination of a will, it must be in writing and signed before two witnesses.

If a marriage contract involves the sale of a real estate interest (besides a lease), Florida law demands that it be in writing and signed in the presence of two witnesses. Electronic signatures may often be witnessed remotely.

Contact us if you have questions involving a legal matter or need the services of our Miami divorce attorneys.

This information is provided for educational or informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice.