Prenuptial Agreements in Georgia
A prenuptial agreement (also known as a prenup or premarital agreement) is a marital agreement or contract entered into by couples before getting married. The purpose of the prenuptial agreement is to define expectations and determine the rights of each spouse in the event of a divorce.
What IS Covered?
The primary purpose of a prenup is to allow you to determine how assets will be divided in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement can cover the following issues:
- Identifying the assets, debts, and liability each spouse is bringing into the marriage
- Stating whether one spouse will pay spousal support to the other spouse
- Determining how property and income accumulated during the marriage will be divided by the couple
What ISN'T Covered?
A prenuptial agreement CANNOT cover the following issues:
- Eliminating a spouse’s responsibility to pay any debt or liability incurred at the date of the marriage itself
- Determining child custody or support
- Determining property distribution upon the death of one spouse
Who Should Get One?
Prenuptial agreements are important, especially when one of the spouses has substantial separate property, will inherit an asset, or receive a large estate from a family trust. You can also get a prenuptial agreement to:
- Protect the assets you own before the marriage
- Determine asset division in a divorce
- Protect yourself from taking on your spouse’s liabilities or debts
- Describe the expected responsibilities and obligations of each spouse
- Ensure care for your children from a previous marriage or relationship
- Protect estate plans and ensure family assets stay in the family
- Decide how you will share finances, expenses, and household bills with your spouse
Can They Be Modified?
Yes, a prenuptial agreement can be modified. To do so, your attorney will be required to prepare an addendum to the original premarital agreement. Once the new agreement has been properly signed and witnessed, it will become a part of the original agreement and the new terms or modifications will be in effect.
Why Prenuptial Agreements
Marital agreements are important to:
- Draw clear boundaries, which can make your life easier in the long run
- Give you and your fiancé the opportunity to have an open, honest conversation about what’s important to each of you
- Protect yourself in the event something significantly changes down the road
Additionally, marital agreements aren’t unfair to the less wealthy spouse. Regardless of the amount of assets you own, you should consider getting one.
For a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable in Georgia, the following conditions must be met:
- The prenuptial agreement must be in writing
- At least two persons must “witness” the signing of the agreement
- The prenuptial agreement must be filed in the county superior court clerk’s office where the spouses live within three months from the date it was signed
In addition, Georgia requires both parties signing the marital agreement to be competent enough to enter into a contract. This requires that:
- Both spouses are old enough to get married
- The spouses are both mentally competent
- The spouses are not related to each other
- At the time of marriage, neither spouse is married to another person
An experienced attorney can help simplify the whole process, meet all necessary procedural requirements, and make sure that the prenuptial agreement is enforceable.
Work with a Knowledgeable Attorney
Preparing for life’s uncertainties is important. As you are planning to marry your significant other, drafting a prenuptial agreement can benefit both of you and help protect your assets and finances. An experienced Georgia family law attorney can offer you the detailed guidance and advocacy you need to draft your prenuptial agreement.
Attorney Noreen Banks-Ware is committed to providing experienced and knowledgeable guidance and helping clients draft vital marital contracts, agreements, and documents. She will enlighten you about the benefits and risks, and explore your legal options. Attorney Banks-Ware will also outline the best way to protect your accumulated assets, children, finances, and future. She will guide you through the entire process and make sure that the prenuptial agreement is valid, meets all procedural requirements, and fair to all parties.