What You Need To Know About Postnups
Before their wedding, it is common for couples to enter into a prenuptial agreement. This agreement is designed to protect the individual assets that each party brings into the marriage. That is not an indication that the marriage is now headed for divorce. Instead, it is a smart way for couples to protect their assets and manage the debts they consider outside the marriage union. Those same protections are put into place with a postnuptial agreement. Notably, according to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, prenuptial agreements (known in this state as antenuptial contracts) and postnuptial agreements are subject to different signature requirements from premarital agreements because they are construed to be contracts made in contemplation of divorce, rather than of marriage. The Georgia family law attorneys at Millard Law Firm provide experienced guidance and information through every step of the filing process for postnups. Call (678) 319-9500 today to schedule a consultation to review your postnup needs.
Why Consider a Postnup?
The main reason for considering a postnup agreement is protection. The issue of a postnup might be difficult to raise because of the specter of divorce. However, a postnup should be given serious consideration for any of the following reasons:
- Each spouse has a viable career with a promising future
- One spouse has accumulated more assets before the marriage
- One spouse has accumulated more debt before the marriage
Postnups often strengthen the bonds of marriage by getting those issues out in the open and clarifying what they will mean for the future of the marriage.
What Should Be Included in a Postnup?
The postnup agreement is a legally binding contract that specifies each spouse’s financial rights and responsibilities should the marriage end in divorce or separation. This contract can be entered into at any time after the marriage has been solemnized. While the specifics may vary depending on the needs of the couple, well-drafted postnups generally include the following elements:
Postnups commonly detail how assets will be divided in the event of divorce or separation. The asset list may encompass real estate, investments, businesses, and personal property. Typically, these would be all the assets not commingled as part of the marriage. In other words, these are the assets that each partner had before the wedding.
A postnup agreement specifies how marital debts might be discharged in the event of a divorce. That is a vital consideration, especially when one spouse might fund a business or accrue debt through individual purchases, as with a credit card or private loan. Postnups spell out who will be responsible for paying for each debt, and that protects each party from potential financial liabilities.
Alimony and Support
Postnups often detail the specifics of whether one spouse will be obligated to pay alimony or spousal support to the other in the event of a divorce. The specifics include the amount and duration of the payments. If a divorce is inevitable, having those details in place expedites the entire process. After all, the basic structure of spousal support will have been already stipulated, which means no need for disputes.
Estate planning is another key feature that can be detailed through postnups. Estate planning in a postnup includes items the married couple wishes to consider in setting up their inheritances and trusts, as well as specifying their beneficiaries in each spouse’s Last Will and Testament. In some cases there may be preexisting trusts that were established before the marriage that should become part of the estate planning in a postnup agreement.
Another goal of the postnup agreement is to clarify all the financial responsibilities during the marriage. That includes, but is not limited to, joint accounts, expenses, and any other shared money that is part of the marriage. Ensuring that each spouse understands what is expected of them in terms of mortgage payments, credit card bills, insurance, etc. is important to preventing conflict later on.
What Cannot Be Included in a Postnuptial Agreement?
Spouses who enter into a postnuptial agreement aim to create a document that is equal parts flexible and customizable. However, there are certain limitations to what you are allowed to include in a postnup agreement.
One of the most significant exclusions has to do with child custody and child support, both of which are subject to the terms of Georgia law described by the Administrative Office of the Courts. Any terms that violate the law or public policy will not be enforceable. Consulting with an experienced Georgia family law attorney can help to ensure that your postnup adheres to legal standards.
Do Postnups Hold Up?
The enforceability of a postnup varies depending on jurisdiction. In Georgia, postnups are recognized by the courts, provided they were created in good faith and signed according to the law. “Good faith” in this instance means there should not be any of the following:
- Non-disclosures of material facts
- Mistake of representations
As you consider what to include in a postnuptial agreement and how to approach the drafting process, it may be helpful to discuss your priorities and the legal requirements to which your postnup must conform in order to be enforceable. Georgia spouses considering a postnup agreement can schedule a personalized consultation with the experienced family law attorneys at the Millard Law Firm.
How Long Is a Postnuptial Agreement Good For?
Postnuptial agreements are designed to provide clarity and protection for the future, but that does not automatically mean they last forever. Postnups might stipulate a certain period of time, after which it needs to be formally reviewed or renewed. That is a valuable consideration because of all the potential life changes that occur.
Any time there is a birth of a child or a significant change in one individual’s personal income revisions to the postnup should be considered. There might also be new property assets that would have to become part of any revised agreement.
File the Postnup the Right Way With the Millard Law Firm
A well-crafted postnuptial agreement can provide peace of mind in uncertain times, offering you and your spouse a clear understanding of your financial rights and responsibilities. Crafting a postnup requires careful consideration of numerous factors, legal expertise, and attention to detail. For personalized guidance and expert advice on navigating the intricacies of postnuptial agreements, experience matters. Take the first step towards securing your financial well-being by contacting the Millard Law Firm at (678) 319-9500 today to schedule a consultation.