Prenups & Postnups: How to protect your assets before and after getting married
Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial settlements are legal documents designed to provide financial protection for individuals in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements are entered into and signed before the marriage, while postnuptial settlements are entered into and signed any time after the wedding. These agreements outline the terms of a divorce settlement, including the division of assets, spousal support, and other financial matters. While some may view these agreements as a lack of trust in a marriage, they actually serve as a practical measure to protect both individuals from the financial upheaval of a divorce or separation. Most parties who are entering into a second or subsequent marriage, or who have children from a prior relationship, may benefit from such agreements, to protect their assets and children. For those considering marriage, it's always wise to have an open and honest conversation about financial expectations and the possibility of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. As with any legal agreement, it's important to seek the advice of a qualified attorney to ensure that the agreement is valid and enforceable.
What is a Prenuptial or Antenuptial Agreement
Getting married is an exciting time in anyone's life. However, it is important to consider the potential challenges that may arise in the future - foreseen and especially those that are unforeseen. In Georgia, couples can enter into a prenuptial agreement, also known by law as an "antenuptial agreement," to protect their assets and finances in case of a divorce. Georgia law defines this agreement as: "a contract entered into prior to a marriage that determines property rights or contemplates a future settlement to one spouse as to a future resolution of issues, including, but not limited to, year's support, spousal support, and equitable division of property."
It is crucial to note that both parties must agree to all the terms and have their own attorney review it with them separately to ensure the agreement's validity. Additionally, it is essential to disclose all assets and debts honestly. If you do not, the courts can overturn the agreement as obtained by fraud when you try and enforce it in the event of separation or divorce. While the prenuptial agreement can only determine financial and property items, it can provide peace of mind in knowing you and your partner have taken steps to protect your individual interests. You will not be able to agree in advance to what happens to children in a divorce, as that is impossible to know until it happens, based on the "best interest of the child" standard upheld by Georgia public policy. Remember, it is required that the agreement be executed well before the wedding to be considered valid under Georgia law. The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties, and attested to by at least two witnesses - one of whom must be a notary public.
What is a Postnuptial Settlement or Marriage Contract
In Georgia, a postnuptial settlement, better known in the Georgia State Code as a marriage contract, is a legally binding document that lays out the terms of a couple's assets and obligations in the event of a divorce, entered into after they have already gotten married. To ensure its validity, both parties must be represented by their own attorneys, and when it's signed, at least two witnesses must attest to it. It's essential that one of those witnesses is a notary public who can certify the document. As with prenups, all assets and debts must be fully disclosed prior the agreement being signed, otherwise it could be held as invalid as being obtained by fraud. At first glance, the process may seem intimidating, but having a contract such as this brings clarity and peace of mind to both parties. It's a good idea to seek counsel from an experienced attorney to ensure that all parties' interests are protected.
What These Types of Agreements Can and Cannot Cover
When it comes to prenups and postnups in Georgia, it's important to keep in mind that they are limited to covering financial items and property. At the same time, it's worth noting that state policy prohibits them from covering decisions involving children. Bearing these guidelines in mind, it's crucial to also recognize that to ensure the document is legally binding, you must fully disclose everything - all property, monetary accounts, debts, collections of items, holdings in companies, and the like. Failing to do so could lend itself to having your agreement ruled invalid by reason of fraud. Moreover, signing the document must be done freely by both parties, as any signs or evidence of duress in signing could result in the agreement being invalidated. It may be unpleasant to consider these scenarios, but the peace of mind in knowing that your agreement is legally binding and fair to all parties involved is vital.
Who can Enforce these Types of Agreements
Prenuptial agreements (prenups) and postnuptial settlements (marriage contracts) are often used to protect the interests of both parties in a marriage. If you're considering entering into an agreement of this nature in Georgia, it's important to understand your legal rights and responsibilities. In the state of Georgia, prenups can be enforced by the court and can be made by either party or their heirs after death. Postnups, on the other hand, can be enforced by the court at the instance of anyone who has a stake in the agreement. By knowing who can enforce these agreements, couples can better determine whether or not these types of contracts are right for them.
How We Can Help
As you plan for your future together - whether you are about to get married or have been married for a while - it's important to consider the legal side of things to protect you and your family in event of a legal separation or divorce. At Your Law Firm, we specialize in creating prenuptial agreements and post-marriage contracts to protect your assets and ensure peace of mind. Our legal team will work closely with you to understand your unique situation and develop a personalized plan that meets your needs. We also have a network of other attorneys we love and trust, to ensure that your spouse or spouse-to-be is able to have excellent legal representation as well, in accordance with Georgia laws regarding prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Whether you're looking to safeguard your business, protect your savings, or establish a plan for future inheritances, we're here to help. So why wait? Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards a secure and successful future together.