A prenuptial agreement, or prenup, is a legal contract that a couple enters into before marriage. The prenuptial agreement’s purpose preemptively states how the couple’s assets will be divided if they divorce. Once only associated with famous or wealthy couples, prenups are becoming more popular among couples of all financial backgrounds who would like to protect their separate or pre-marital property should a divorce occur. Couples benefit from considering entering into a prenuptial agreement before they get married.
If you’re considering creating a prenup, you need an experienced and knowledgeable Atlanta prenuptial agreement lawyer. The skilled prenuptial agreement lawyers at Carter/Pilgrim will draft a legally enforceable and valid prenuptial agreement that protects interests and separate property. Contact our Atlanta prenuptial agreement lawyers today if you are interested in creating a prenuptial agreement before your upcoming marriage.
Understanding Prenuptial Agreements in Georgia
Prenuptial agreements are contracts entered into by two people who are planning to get married and become effective when the couple who created the contract is married. Under Georgia law, a prenuptial agreement must be in writing, and both parties must sign the agreement in the presence of a notary public plus two witnesses.
A prenuptial agreement’s validity can be challenged if one or both individuals signed the agreement based on mistake, coercion, or fraud. Additionally, a court may strike down the prenuptial agreement if the terms were unfair and too one-sided when it was written. Under Georgia law, a couple can enter into a postnuptial agreement at any point during their marriage. Postnuptial agreements usually address the same types of issues as prenuptial agreements. Likewise, postnuptial agreements become legally binding when both parties sign them.
Prenuptial agreements are as unique as the individuals creating the agreement. Both individuals can negotiate the terms of the prenuptial agreement, which will address a wide variety of topics. Most prenuptial agreements focus on whether one spouse will receive alimony as part of the divorce decree. Prenuptial agreements also determine how marital property will be divided should the couple get a divorce in the future. Prenuptial agreements aren’t limited to these topics, however.
Some prenuptial agreements require one or both spouses to make a will within a certain time frame or require one spouse to purchase a life insurance policy and name the other spouse the beneficiary. Georgia law does not allow a couple to determine child support and child custody matters in a prenuptial agreement. Instead, should the couple decide to divorce, they will need to come to an agreement on child custody and child support matters. If they cannot negotiate an agreement, a Georgia family court will step in and rule on the matter.
The Benefits of Creating a Prenuptial Agreement in Georgia
When there is a large income or asset difference between two people preparing to be married, creating a prenuptial agreement can be beneficial. The individual who owns more assets or makes significantly more money could be interested in protecting his or her assets if the couple divorces. Likewise, the individual with fewer assets can protect her interest and ensure that the separation of property is fair should the couple divorce. In other cases, one individual may have received a large inheritance that they would like to keep after a divorce. By creating a legally valid agreement, the spouse can ensure that they will remain the owner of their inheritance.
In other cases, one or both individuals may own a small business or work as part of a family business. A Georgia court may decide to break up a business after the divorce or require one spouse to sell the business and divide the proceeds between the two spouses. A couple can decide that one spouse will keep all of the business interests in exchange for the other spouse receiving more money or keeping the house in a prenuptial agreement. As long as the arrangement doesn’t unfairly advantage one spouse over the other, the couple is free to negotiate a prenup tailored to their individual needs and goals.
Many of our clients wish to create a prenuptial agreement because one or both individuals have been married and experienced a challenging divorce in the past. Spouses who bring children into a marriage may wish to protect their children’s inheritance should they get divorced. Parents often want to ensure that a divorce resulting from their new marriage will not cause their children to become cut out of their inheritance. The prenup can protect their children’s inheritance and their retirement savings should they get divorced.
Even if none of these factors are present, creating a prenup can be advantageous. Doing so can give both spouses peace of mind and a sense of security about their upcoming marriage. Taking the time to draft a prenuptial agreement will encourage the couple to disclose their individual financial situations, including their debts and liabilities. The couple will begin their marriage with greater trust and honest communication about their financial situation and future goals.
Contact Our Atlanta Family Law Lawyers Today
Some of our clients find it challenging to consider that they could be divorced in the future, especially right before the wedding. Nonetheless, taking the time to create a prenup can help both spouses tremendously in the future. In other cases, the spouses may not need a prenuptial agreement before they get married but could need a postnuptial agreement if their situation changes. For example, if one spouse receives a sizable inheritance or gift or starts a business during the marriage, the couple may want to protect their individual interest. If you are considering creating a prenuptial agreement, the experienced Atlanta lawyers at Carter/Pilgrim can help. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation and learn how one can benefit you.