A prenuptial agreement (or prenup) is a contract that a couple enters into prior to marriage that outlines all the terms of divorce in the event of dissolution. A postnuptial agreement (or postnup) is simply a prenup that is created after the marriage takes place. Both types of agreements, if drafted correctly, can protect each party’s best interests, simplify divorce if it occurs, and wind up saving the parties money and headaches in the future. The Ward Law Firm can help draft and enforce prenuptial agreements in Georgia if needed.
Why Create Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements?
Prenups often have a negative connotation. Some couples may eschew them because they do not want to offend their partner or make it appear as if they are uncertain about the longevity of their marriage. However, these types of agreements make good sense for many couples. There are multiple factors and circumstances that can prompt couples to consider a prenup or postnup.
- A realistic view about the high divorce rate in the nation
- A large disparity between each party’s assets or debts prior to marriage
- Both spouses have a career
- Professional reputation is a concern (Pre- and postnuptial agreements can address issues such as confidentiality.)
- One spouse has received or is expected to receive a substantial inheritance
- During the marriage, one spouse sustains a blow to their finances, while the other exceeds expectations with earnings
Terms that Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements Can Address
When a couple gets a divorce, various terms need to be decided upon by mutual agreement. However, in the case of a contested divorce, courts make the decision(s). The couple can preempt many of the financial hassles and arguments common in divorce by using a pre- or postnuptial agreement. Below are just some of the elements that can be included in the contract.
- Property division – How the couples will divvy up marital assets (e.g., their home, retirement accounts, etc.), as well as their debts.
- Spousal support – The details of any alimony agreements, including conditions that must be met to receive support, plus the duration and amount of payments.
- Business interests – If one or both spouses hold interest in a business, the prenup can address how the pre-marital interest and the appreciation during the marriage will be handled in the event of divorce.
- Any additional terms that a couple wants to address that are reasonable, clear, and not in opposition to any public policy can be included. Note: Child support is generally not part of pre- or postnuptial agreements because these figures are regulated by the state.
If you and your partner are considering a prenup or postnup, speak to an attorney. After reviewing the specifics of your financials and goals, your lawyer will be able to draft an agreement that suits your needs and meets Georgia’s legal requirements.
Caution: The Dangers of Poorly Drafted Prenuptial Agreements in Georgia
If a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is not thorough and clear or in alignment with the state’s rules, it will not stand up in court in the event of divorce. These types of agreements contain technical legal language and must be drafted carefully to ensure viability. In addition, it is not uncommon for one party to challenge the agreement when divorce is pending.
In order to be valid, each party must accurately represent themselves and partake in full disclosure; the agreement must be relatively fair (not leave either party high and dry); and it cannot be signed under duress or through coercion. If circumstances change during the course of marriage, the couple can have the prenup modified so that it continues to remain useable and effective.
Ward Law Firm in Gwinnett County handles all aspects of family law. If you have questions about a postnuptial or prenuptial agreement in Georgia or have a pending divorce and need legal help enforcing or challenging your agreement, our legal team is here to help. Contact us today at 770-383-1973 for a no obligation REAL Case Analysis or fill out our online contact form.