Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Prenuptial agreements are a popular tool for couples who are getting married to start the marriage on the right foot with each party having a clear understanding of their separate and joint finances and each party’s expectations about what should happen in case of divorce. A prenuptial agreement can help protect a party’s separate property or business interests from becoming part of the marital estate, and it can be used to assure less wealthy parties that their needs will be taken into account if the couple divorces. Prenuptial agreements can also be used to protect the rights of children from a previous marriage.
The family law attorneys at The Gleklen Law Firm have extensive experience and expertise in negotiating and drafting prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. With our help, your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement will be expertly drafted to meet your needs and withstand legal challenges. Our skilled litigators also represent parties in challenges or enforcement actions regarding prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
If you are contemplating marriage and considering a prenuptial agreement, or if you are already married but think you could benefit from a postnuptial agreement, give us a call to discuss your needs, share your concerns, and get the right kind of high-quality advice and assistance you need to protect your future.
What Prenuptial Agreements Can and Can’t Do
A prenuptial agreement is typically used to protect a prospective spouse’s pre-marital property or business ownership interest in case of divorce down the road. The prenuptial agreement can spell out what separate property stays separate, how property will be divided in a divorce, whether alimony will be paid, and if so, by whom, how much, for how long, and under what conditions. By addressing these matters in a prenuptial agreement, they won’t have to be litigated if the couple does divorce, and they can go into their marriage with a mutual understanding and shared expectations. In this way, the prenuptial agreement can enhance the couple’s security and faith in each other and the marital relationship.
A prenuptial agreement does more than just protect the wealthier party; it can also help the less wealthy party feel more comfortable and secure that they will be taken care of in a divorce without having to fight over alimony or property. The prenuptial agreement can also require one party to make a will with certain terms included, or take out a life insurance policy with a certain beneficiary designation. These instruments can be used to protect the other spouse or children from a previous marriage. Forty percent of families today are blended, and parents often want to ensure that getting married won’t harm the inheritance rights or financial interests of their existing children.
One thing prenuptial agreements can’t do is affect parental rights regarding custody, visitation, or child support. These matters must be worked out by the parties at the time of a divorce or separation or decided by the court. Courts also won’t uphold any aspect of a prenuptial agreement that goes against public policy.
What Postnuptial Agreements Are For
Georgia law also recognizes the validity of postnuptial agreements, or contracts between spouses who are already married. The postnuptial agreement can do all the same things as a prenuptial agreement. The need for a postnuptial agreement might come about when needs arise during the marriage that wasn’t present before, such as one spouse starting up a business with outside partners or coming into money via gift or inheritance meant solely for that person. Sometimes, the desire for a prenuptial agreement was present, but it wasn’t addressed before the parties got married. A postnuptial agreement can also help a couple to reconcile when they are having marital issues by serving to rebuild trust in the relationship.
Requirements Under Georgia Law to Create a Valid Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement
To be valid, the agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties, each of whom must be legally capable of signing a contract under Georgia law (adult age, sound mental condition). Two other people should also witness the signing and sign the document as well. The parties have three months to file the instrument with the court to ensure its validity.
Other requirements are that the agreement is entered into voluntarily after each party has received complete financial disclosures from the other. A contract based on fraud, duress, or mistake won’t be valid or enforced. Each party should get their own lawyer to review the document before signing. If a party is waiving the right to receive a financial disclosure or review the agreement with an attorney, they should do so in writing.
Courts can also refuse to enforce a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that is so one-sided that it was unconscionable when it was written or if it would be unreasonable to enforce it now.
The Gleklen Law Firm Can Help
The attorneys at The Gleklen Law Firm have years of experience in the negotiation, drafting and enforcement of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. We can help you make sure your rights are protected and that your best interests are promoted. For help with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement or any other family law matter in Atlanta, call The Gleklen Law Firm at 678-236-0444, or contact us online to schedule a consultation.