These days, we hear about celebrities and rich people getting prenuptial agreements. But what about the rest of us?
As a divorce attorney, I often hear people say, “When should you ask for a prenup?”
Honestly, it will depend on you and your spouse-to-be’s debt and assets pre-marriage – along with whether you have children from a prior relationship.
To see if a prenup would or would not be right for you, let’s look more into this topic.
A prenuptial agreement (often referred to as a prenup) is a legal document that a couple signs before getting married.
It outlines how assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce. A prenup isn’t an anticipation of divorce but rather a proactive measure to protect both parties’ financial interests.
To illustrate, let’s consider a hypothetical couple, Jane and John.
Jane owns a successful business, while John has significant student loan debt.
By creating a prenup, Jane can ensure her business remains solely hers if they divorce, and John won’t become responsible for paying off Jane’s business debts.
Also, Jane won’t be on the hook for John’s student loans, if they are not paid off before a divorce, if it happens.
Common Reasons to Get a Prenup
Let’s look at several reasons why a couple might choose to get a prenup.
- You have a lot of individual assets, such as property or inheritance.
- You own a business or part of business.
- You have a lot of debt.
- This is your second marriage.
- You have children from another relationship.
In these cases, couples may want to separate or pre-determine what to do with their assets and debts, to make it clear who is responsible for what, in the event of a divorce or separation.
So, if any of these circumstances apply to you, you may want to look into a prenup.
If they don’t, then a prenup may not be right for you.
What Should a Woman Ask for in a Prenup?
For women, it’s crucial to consider present and future financial needs.
This could include provisions for children, protection against your spouse’s debts, and ensuring any personal businesses or assets remain in your possession.
What Should a Man Ask for in a Prenup?
Similarly, men should consider securing their assets and financial future.
This could involve protection from a partner’s debts, establishing terms for spousal support, or protecting an inheritance.
How to Get a Prenup in Georgia
In Georgia, like most states, you should consult with a family law attorney to draft a prenup.
Both parties must fully disclose their assets and debts, and each should have separate legal counsel to ensure the agreement is fair and enforceable.
Once everything is disclosed, the contract is written up and both parties sign off on it.
This should be done as soon as possible and you should not wait until the eve of the wedding. If you cut it too close to the wedding, the prenup could be challenged later on down the road and even thrown out if a judge decides it was obtained under duress, or other fraudulent means.
Does a Prenuptial Agreement Have to Be Witnessed or Notarized?
While laws vary by state, typically a prenup must be in writing, signed voluntarily by both parties, and executed in the presence of a notary.
In some cases, witnesses may also be required. It’s best to check with a local attorney to understand the specific requirements in your jurisdiction.
In Georgia for example, you need at least two witnesses and one of them must be a notary. You’ll get it notarized when you and your fiance sign it, together.
The decision to get a prenup depends on personal circumstances and individual financial situations.
If you’re asking yourself, “When should you ask for a prenup?”, consider speaking with a legal professional to guide you through the process
Remember, a prenup isn’t planning for divorce, it’s planning for peace of mind.