Attorney Anthony Barbuto of the Wellington-based Barbuto Law Firm P.A. runs a general practice that handles a variety of legal issues, including family law, general civil litigation and equestrian law, both here in the United States and in Italy, where he spends part of each year.
With experience in the realm of family law, Barbuto provided important insight on the much-discussed topic of prenuptial agreements.
“The topic of prenuptial agreements is taboo in a lot of households,” he explained. “For one, prenuptial agreements are against some religious faiths, and two, there is this misconception that marrying with a prenuptial agreement implies that the bonds of marriage are weak. Often, when I consult clients for a prenuptial agreement, one of the soon-to-be spouses is not happy, especially in first-time marriages of young couples. The classic criticism is, ‘Requiring me to sign a prenuptial agreement implies that you do not trust me, which is hurtful, and if you do not trust me, we should not be getting married.’ One of my jobs as a lawyer is to educate my clients about prenuptial agreements and to get them to the point where they feel good and confident about them.”
Couples need to understand that divorce is always a reality, Barbuto said, and having a prenuptial agreement makes the process easier.
“In Florida, it is relatively easy to get divorced,” he said. “Of course, there are amicable divorces when parties go through the process with reason, respect and consideration. But for many, divorces get ugly and bring out the worst of all involved during an expensive and stressful litigation period that can last years. The latter is what prenuptial agreements are designed to avoid, whereas if a divorce occurs, there would be nothing to litigate, as the terms would have already been decided pre-marriage.”
Prenuptial agreements give the parties the opportunity to agree on how property issues will be decided.
“For example, if spouses accumulate assets during the marriage, or if spouses enter the marriage with assets, a prenuptial agreement will set forth how those assets will be distributed if a divorce occurs,” Barbuto said. “Prenuptial agreements can also address other issues, including, but not limited to, alimony entitlements and inheritance rights. What couples must understand is that prenuptial agreements are negotiable, and they do not have to be prepared in a dictator-like fashion. It is recommended that both spouses have their own lawyer, and that the lawyers work together in achieving the clients’ goals.”
Prenuptial agreements are more common with couples who already have significant assets.
“I handle several prenuptial agreements each year, but my guess is that I probably handle more for clients who are getting married for the second time,” Barbuto said. “Getting married complicates things when assets have already been accumulated and when children are already involved, so a prenuptial agreement is not only encouraged in these scenarios, but often the spouses mutually desire one.”
For first-time spouses, the process tends to be more emotional.
“I think this is because of the stigma that prenuptial agreements have as a result of parties not fully understanding their significance,” Barbuto said. “I think if a soon-to-be spouse desires a prenuptial agreement, the best way to approach it with their significant other is by simply being truthful, and as early as possible before the anticipated wedding. Explain your concerns and your fears, and ask for understanding and cooperation.”
So, should a trip to see an attorney be part of your pre-wedding checklist?
“My recommendation for people interested in a prenuptial is to at least consult with a lawyer to discuss options,” Barbuto recommended. “All client circumstances are different. If people are already married but wish they entered into an agreement prior to the marriage, it is not too late, because a postnuptial agreement can be entered into addressing the same terms.”
Barbuto is originally from New Jersey and relocated to Wellington in 2008. He later took over the practice of Ann Porath, who practiced law in Wellington from the 1980s until her retirement.
“I have fantastic clients, and I am grateful to have them and to be able to assist them with their legal issues,” he said.
In addition, Barbuto is also an accomplished blogger. His blog — www.italianenthusiast.com — covers Italian culture and receives more than 15,000 views each month. In addition, he has approximately 100,000 followers on Facebook and about 20,000 on Instagram.
“Even though I continue working as a lawyer for my Wellington clients while in Italy, and I make myself available for them 24/7, I spend approximately two months per year in Italy visiting different hotels, towns, events, restaurants, etc. Italians often invite me to Italy to write about their culture, so I can spread awareness to my American followers,” he explained.
He is careful to make sure that his blogging interest does interfere with his obligations to his legal clients.
“Over the years, I have developed an Italian clientele, so going to Italy allows me not only to blog, but also to meet with my Italian clients that I handled legal matters for,” he said. “I handle lawsuits and equestrian matters for several Italian clients.”
Barbuto lives in Wellington with his wife, Rovena, who is originally from Albania, but grew up in Italy. They have been married three years and have two children — Leonardo, 2, and Sofia, 3 months. “I like the Wellington community and its residents,” he said. “It is the town I chose to raise my children. I think the community is safe, and I love the people.”
To contact attorney Anthony Barbuto, visit www.barbutolaw.com or call (561) 798-2907.