Foster v. Estate of Gomes, — So.3d —-, 2010 WL 322170 (Fla. 5th DCA Jan. 29, 2010)
Prenuptial agreements limiting themselves solely to spousal inheritance rights are governed by F.S. § 732.702. All other prenuptial agreements are governed by the more burdensome requirements of Florida’s Premarital Agreement Act, found at F.S. § 61.079.
Generally speaking, inheritance-rights prenup’s are a whole lot simpler to draft, less costly for clients, and easier to enforce. Why? One big reason is that these agreements (if executed prior to the marriage) don’t require prospective spouses to go through all of the financial disclosure normally needed to make prenup’s governed by Florida’s Premarital Agreement Act stick. This distinction is often lost on attorneys used to litigating prenup’s in divorce proceedings, and was at the heart of the court’s ruling in the linked-to opinion.
Prior to their marriage, Lora Foster and Edward Gomes entered into an antenuptial agreement in which Ms. Foster waived all right to Mr. Gomes’s property, including her right to an elective share. Although not required by Florida law, Mr. Gomes disclosed the bulk of his assets when they entered the agreement, omitting one asset valued at approximately $10,000.
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Florida law does not require prior disclosure of assets for an antenuptial agreement. § 732.702(2). Recognizing this, Appellant argues that a disclosure, once made, albeit voluntarily, if inaccurate or fraudulent, invalidates the antenuptial agreement, citing Stregack v. Moldofsky, 474 So.2d 206 (Fla.1985) (Ehrlich, J., dissenting). Unfortunately for Appellant, that dissenting opinion has not garnered a consensus either within the Florida Legislature or Florida courts. We prefer, instead, to rely upon the binding majority opinion which stated, “[n]ondisclosure, whether fraudulent or not, is precisely what the legislature intended to eliminate from consideration on the validity of antenuptial agreements.” Stregack, 474 So.2d at 207. In so holding, the law continues to accommodate the desires of older Florida residents to marry again without risking an unwanted disposition of a lifetime’s assets due to a partial disclosure. See id.