Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Prenuptial Agreements

How important are prevailing party clauses in a Florida prenuptial agreements? As the case Larkin v. Larkin, 207 So.3d 1026 (Fla. 5th DCA 2017) shows, they can mean the difference between paying fees for an unsuccessful challenge to an agreement and having the other party pay those fees. 

A prevailing party clause is sometimes included in contracts such as prenuptial agreements. These clauses state that if a party challenges the validity of an agreement and/or a party violates a term of the agreement, the party who prevails in court on the issue will be awarded attorneys' fees and costs to be paid by the other party. This clause is meant to deter frivolous challenges to an agreement and/or to promote compliance with the terms of an agreement. 

In the Larkin case, the court considered the former wife's appeal of an order denying her request for the former husband to pay her attorneys' fees and costs since the parties' marital settlement agreement included a prevailing party clause and the former husband lost on an issue raised in court post-judgment. In reversing the trial court's order, the appellate court determined it was error for the trial court to ignore the parties' contractual prevailing party clause. 

If you are contemplating challenging an agreement, you should first review it with a Miami family law attorney. During a consultation, the attorney can alert you to any risks involved in proceeding, including prevailing party clauses, so that you might avoid the result of this appeal as it relates to the former husband.