What Is A Prenup Agreement?
Marriage symbolizes the intimate sharing of two lives. As romantic as the idea of marrying may be, everyone should keep in mind that marriage essentially means signing a legal contract with another person. That is why many people choose to enter into a prenuptial agreement, also known as the prenup agreement or simply a prenup, before they walk down the aisle. A prenup allows the parties to maintain full control over their finances and assets instead of allowing their respective state laws to dictate their future. The experienced team at The Millard Law Firm is dedicated to protecting the rights of clients in various family law matters, including prenuptial agreements. Get help negotiating the terms of a prenup agreement that meets your needs and complies with state laws. Georgia residents can schedule their individualized consultations by calling (678) 319-9500 today.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement (Prenup)?
A prenup agreement, also known as an “antenuptial agreement” under Georgia law, is a formal contract created and signed between two people before they get married. The contract aims to help future spouses protect their property by clearly outlining each party’s assets and liabilities in case things do not work out and the marriage falls apart. Prenups are not created with the expectation of divorce. Their purpose is to help both spouses be prepared for everything they may have to face in the future. A prenuptial agreement can address the following:
- The assets each party brings to the marriage
- The debt that has been accrued by each party prior to the marriage
- Retirement or education funds each party has accumulated before the marriage
- Each party’s ownership rights in life insurance and disability policies
- Each party’s ownership of their business, if any
Contrary to popular belief, prenups are not created to favor one spouse over the other. In fact, these agreements must be fair in order to be enforceable. A well-thought-out and detailed prenup agreement can help both parties accomplish their goals and objectives and protect their own interests. While some people view prenups as “unnecessary” or even “insulting,” experienced family law attorneys understand that having a prenup can potentially save a couple a considerable amount of money, time, and emotional stress in the event of divorce. A prenuptial agreement lawyer can provide you with the advice and counsel you need to make the right decisions to protect yourself and your family.
What a Prenup Agreement Cannot Do
Under Georgia Code § 19-3-62, a prenuptial agreement must meet the following three requirements to be enforceable:
- Be in writing
- Have signatures of both parties
- Be attested to by no less than two witnesses (one of them must be a notary public)
Even if these three requirements are met, a prenup can still be thrown out by courts in part or in whole if it contains any of the following:
- Provisions related to illegal activities. The agreement should not contain anything illegal under state or federal law.
- Decisions regarding child custody or child support. A prenup cannot be used to address issues related to child custody or child support. If the agreement contains provisions related to any of these matters, the court will refuse to uphold them. In Georgia, courts use the “best interests of the child” standard when making decisions regarding child custody and visitation (Georgia Code § 19-9-3).
- Details about personal matters. A prenuptial agreement also cannot include provisions regarding the parties’ personal matters or preferences. Thus, provisions detailing any non-financial issues (e.g., who has to do chores, who should raise the children, etc.) will not be upheld by the court.
In addition to prohibiting these three, some states also do not allow or limit couples’ ability to waive alimony rights. However, Georgia is not one of those states. In Georgia, prenups can address the issue of spousal support if the marriage ends. Creating a prenuptial agreement may seem like an unromantic or even depressing task, but it does not have to be this way. At The Millard Law Firm, we can help you take care of drafting the prenup and all the formalities surrounding it, while you can focus on enjoying your engagement and the big day.
Who Are Prenups Best For?
Creating a prenup agreement may be beneficial for almost every couple. However, if any of the following applies to you, you may find that having the agreement is better than not having one:
- You are a business owner. Having a well-drafted prenup can help you protect your business and your ownership stake in case your marriage falls apart.
- You have children from previous relationships. If you want to make sure that your children from past marriages or relationships inherit your assets, a prenuptial agreement could help you accomplish that.
- You have assets you want to keep for yourself. A prenuptial agreement can specifically outline which assets should remain separate property if the spouses decide to get a divorce.
- You want to have full control over your future. If the mere thought of not being able to control your finances and assets is disturbing and unpleasant, you might want to consider creating a prenup.
Every couple’s situation is different, which is why it can be beneficial to work with a skilled lawyer to assist you in drafting and negotiating your prenuptial agreement. A Georgia family law attorney can listen to your situation to understand your unique circumstances and help you create an agreement tailored to your goals, interests, and needs.
Get the Peace of Mind You Deserve
The experienced family law attorneys at The Millard Law Firm can help you and your future spouse simplify your plans for the future as much as possible as you move into a new chapter of your life. Understandably, you probably do not want the process of creating a prenup agreement to ruin what may be one of the most romantic and blissful moments of your life. An experienced attorney sensitive to the needs of antenuptial agreements can provide you and your fiancée/fiancé with the peace of mind you deserve and draft a prenup that meets your needs. Call (678) 319-9500 to request your consultation today.