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Immigration documents can preempt a premarital agreement

Florida residents who are considering entering into a prenuptial agreement may be interested in knowing that in some situations, it could be preempted by the requirements of federal documents. In a decision handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on June 8, it was determined that neither a divorce judgement nor a premarital agreement may terminate an affidavit of support when immigration documents mandate that a sponsor must provide support to a former spouse.

I-864 affidavits requiring immigrants to prove their ability to support themselves financially after relocating to this country are required in some cases. Due to the I-864 requirements a real estate agent was forced to honor his obligation to provide support to his ex-wife, who was a Turkish immigrant, in spite of a premarital agreement in which both spouses agreed to forego alimony in the event that they later divorced.

A lower court had ruled that the sponsor was obligated to support his ex-spouse, but it did not enforce the obligation because other sources were providing the necessary support. The decision made by the appellate court to enforce the I-864 requirements indicates that it is not the responsibility of a charitable third party to meet the requirements of the original immigration affidavit.

Prenuptial agreements often deal with alimony as well as property division in the event the parties later end their marriage. While this case is not very common, family law attorneys often try to overturn the provisions of these agreements by demonstrating that their client was forced to sign one under duress or that the other party did not make complete financial disclosures at the time.

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