Understanding Prenuptial Agreements in Georgia
A premarital agreement, also known as a prenuptial agreement, is a legal contract made between individuals who plan to marry. Conversely, an agreement of the same nature that is entered into after marriage is referred to as a postnuptial agreement. Both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements serve the purpose of defining the rights of each party involved in the unfortunate event of a divorce.
At Vayman & Teitelbaum, P.C., our team of experienced Georgia family law attorneys specializes in assisting individuals and couples with the creation of personalized prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. If your fiancé or spouse has already prepared such an agreement, our services also include reviewing the document to ensure that your rights are adequately protected.
What Can and Cannot be Addressed in a Prenuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement offers the flexibility to be as broad or narrow in scope as the parties involved desire and can cover a variety of important issues including:
- The amount and duration of alimony, providing clarity on financial support in the event of a divorce.While a complete waiver of alimony might not be upheld in Georgia if it would lead to one spouse becoming destitute or reliant on public assistance, the prenup can limit the scope and amount of alimony to be paid.
- Each party’s interest in the other’s pre-marital property, safeguarding individual assets acquired before the marriage.
- The division of property acquired during the marriage, outlining how marital assets will be distributed in case of a divorce.
- Protection against pre-marital debt, ensuring that each party’s debts from before the marriage remain their own responsibility.
- Future inheritances, defining how potential inheritances will be treated and allocated within the marriage.
While a prenup can address many issues, there are also certain topics that a prenuptial agreement cannot address including:
- Child Custody and Child Support: Prenuptial agreements cannot determine or modify child custody arrangements or child support payments. Decisions regarding child custody and support are made based on the best interests of the child at the time of the divorce or separation.
- Unconscionable Terms: Courts may not enforce prenuptial agreements that contain terms that are considered unconscionable or extremely unfair to one of the parties. If a court finds certain provisions in the agreement to be unconscionable, those specific provisions may be deemed unenforceable.
- Illegal or Against Public Policy: Any clauses or provisions that violate state or federal laws or go against public policy cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement. For example, an agreement cannot promote illegal activities or waive certain legal rights protected by law.
- Personal Preferences or Non-Financial Matters: Prenuptial agreements should primarily focus on financial and property matters. Matters relating to personal preferences, household chores, or any other non-financial aspects of the relationship typically cannot be enforced.
- Encouraging Divorce: Prenuptial agreements cannot include provisions that incentivize or encourage divorce. Courts are unlikely to enforce agreements that appear to create an advantage for one party if the marriage ends in divorce.
- Lack of Full and Fair Disclosure: For a prenuptial agreement to be valid in Georgia, both parties must provide full and fair disclosure of their financial assets, debts, and liabilities before entering into the agreement. If either party fails to disclose all relevant information, the agreement may be considered invalid.
Benefits of Having a Prenuptial Agreement
Having a prenuptial agreement in place before entering into a marriage can be very beneficial for many couples. Many people believe that a prenuptial agreement is only for the ultra wealthy, but that’s no longer the case. Prenuptial agreements are becoming more common and just about anyone can benefit from having one in place. Here are a few benefits that come out of having a prenuptial agreement in place:
- Lower divorce costs: The cost of a contentious divorce can escalate into the tens of thousands very quickly. A prenuptial agreement that defines the distribution of assets and debts can decrease the number of issues to address in litigation.
- Lower probate costs: A prenuptial agreement can also address the distribution of property in the event one of the parties dies prematurely, which can be particularly beneficial if the parties are concerned about protecting the interests of children from a previous relationship.
- Smoother transition into a blended family: Protecting the financial and property interests of the children from a previous relationship has the added benefit of potentially making the often difficult transition into a blended family smoother by providing them with a sense of security.
- Encourages open communication about finances before you are married: In Georgia, a prenuptial agreement is only valid if both parties disclose their income, assets, and liabilities prior to executing the agreement.
- Protecting your business: Most people do not want to be business partners with the spouse of their current partners. A prenuptial agreement can include the necessary precautions by providing that the fiancé waives all rights to any interest in the business in the event of divorce or death. Alternatively, the business-owner spouse may enter into a buy-sell agreement, where upon the death of a shareholder or partner, the remaining owners are required to purchase the decedent’s interest in the business. Alternatively, you may want to preserve your business interests for your children.
- Protecting family assets and pre-marital property: A prenuptial agreement can also protect any assets acquired before the marriage and preserve ownership of family heirlooms or other family assets.
At Vayman & Teitelbaum P.C., our experienced Georgia family law attorneys are dedicated to helping clients protect their rights and assets through legally enforceable prenuptial agreements. We work closely with individuals and couples to tailor agreements that comprehensively address financial matters, ensuring full compliance with state laws and regulations. With our guidance, clients can have peace of mind knowing that their prenuptial agreements are carefully crafted to provide security and clarity for the future, safeguarding their interests in the event of a divorce or separation. Whether creating a new agreement or reviewing an existing one, our goal is to empower our clients with a legally sound and personalized approach to protect their financial well-being. If you need help with a prenuptial agreement contact us today!