Prenuptial lawyers in Atlanta wish that all marriages would stand the test of time. The sad truth, however, is that the majority of marriages really do end in divorce. While no couple should get married anticipating that this will happen, working out some prenuptial details is the best way to protect you and your spouse in the event of a divorce.
Making a prenuptial agreement is one thing, but how can you make sure that it will stand up in court if your spouse contests it? How can you make sure that a judge won’t throw it out? Here are some key tips for making a prenup that will be binding.
- Make sure to get it in writing. Take it from a prenup lawyer who has handled plenty of these cases in Atlanta; oral agreements become “he said, she said,” and are not valid.
- Disclose all of your assets and liabilities. If you or your spouse hide anything, the prenup may be tossed out on the grounds that full disclosure was not made at the time of signing.
- The prenup must not be unconscionable (that is, so unfair to one side that no reasonable person would have agreed to it). If the agreement is too lopsided, favoring one spouse over the other, a judge may throw it out entirely, leaving you with no protection.
- The prenup must be signed voluntarily. Be sure to do this well before the wedding; one signed the day before, for example, may be seen as coercing the signature of the other party in order for the wedding to be held at all.
- Both parties must sign, and there should be witnesses. You need proof that the signing was voluntary and not coerced, so witnesses are critical. A notary is your best bet, as their claim will hold up if your spouse takes you to court in a divorce.
The details of a prenup are important, no matter which side of the contract you are on. It may protect one spouse’s assets, but it can also protect a spouse from the other party’s liabilities. Both parties have every reason to make sure that it is fair and properly executed. It may seem unromantic, but it’s a necessary step, no matter what level of assets you may have.
Prenuptial lawyers in Atlanta see cases where spouses have every right to contest the prenup, and are doing so because it is unconscionable. Other times, there is a loophole in the contract that allows a spouse who should get less by the terms of the contract take a major bite out of his or her ex-spouse’s assets.
Making a prenup that is fair, legally binding, and that will hold up in court can be tricky. Complicating the matter further is the fact that a wedding is emotionally charged. Of course everyone wants the marriage to last and for the prenup to never come into play, but unfortunately, prenup lawyers in Atlanta use these documents all the time to properly distribute assets during a divorce. Love and good intentions just aren’t always enough.
If you are getting married, and are ready to put your intentions in writing, call our Atlanta prenuptial lawyers at 770-425-6060.
There are few times in life that are as exciting and full of promise as the period of wedding and newlywed planning. People know that their wedding day will be one of the most remembered of their lives. While there is certainly stress involved in making so many decisions, there is also an underlying sense of fun.
Unfortunately, there are some aspects of newlywed planning that are not quite as enjoyable as others. Still, paying attention to things like estate planning and prenuptial agreements help to set up the marriage in a healthy way. Some people will argue against that notion, but marriage lawyers in Atlanta GA have seen the benefits of this kind of preparation.
The prenup itself is a legal contract between the two parties who plan to be married. Just what is covered in the document will depend on you and your future spouse and your circumstances. For example, if this is your first marriage and there are no children involved, your needs will be different than for couples whose marriages will be blending families with stepchildren.
The idea of a prenup is generally to determine how property will be divided should the marriage not survive. It also takes into consideration things such as spousal support that might be extended and the circumstances surrounding it.
State laws vary quite a bit when it comes to prenups, so it’s really important for Atlanta, Georgia, couples to find an attorney that practices within the state. Actually, you will want to find two separate lawyers, as each prospective spouse should have his or her own representation. This is important, not just because it protects each individual’s best interests up front, but because if and when the prenup needs to be upheld, the courts are much more likely to honor it for the same reason.
Not Just for Marriages that End
One mistaken notion that many people have is that prenuptial agreements are only useful if the marriage comes to an end. What commonly gets overlooked is that it is actually a useful tool in avoiding divorce. When couples take the time to outline their thoughts about the financial aspects of their upcoming marriage, they are better able to get on the same page about money, fidelity, and other important topics that the marriage lawyers are going to bring up for discussion.
We help lots of prospective brides or grooms in and around Atlanta plan for their futures together with prenuptial agreements. If you’d like our help, please call us at 770-425-6060.
Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A marriage is not only a union of love and families; it’s also about combining of money and property. This might not be an issue if both partners are young and have own little yet, but if either spouse (or both spouses) is more successful, with a career or business of their own, a prenuptial agreement is especially important. A prenuptial agreement may also be wise if one spouse has children (or assets, or debt) from a prior relationship, or is expecting an inheritance.
Despite popular opinion, a prenuptial agreement is not only for the rich and famous. Further, a prenuptial agreement doesn’t mean you believe your marriage will fail. This article in the Huffington Post lists and discusses 10 reasons why a prenuptial agreement is a good idea—and none of those reasons is “You don’t think your marriage can survive.” The article lists the following reasons why you should consider a prenuptial agreement:
- Writing A Prenup Can Help You Learn More About Each Other
- Failing to Discussing Financial Issues Can Doom A Relationship
- Separate Property Should Often Remain So After a Marriage
- Potential Spousal Support Liabilities Are Often Encourage an Early Exit
- Divorce Is Expensive
- The Prenuptial Agreement Keeps Peace In The Family
- Financial Independence Creates A Happier Relationship
- Prenuptial Agreements May Provide Freedom From The Other’s Debts
- The Law Is Not Always Fair
- Expectations Are Addressed In Advance
Regardless of your age or position in life, entering into a prenuptial agreement before you walk down the aisle can benefit your family, your money, and your marriage. Don’t let preconceived ideas about prenups and the rich and famous prevent you from protecting your assets. Talk to your beloved and consult with your attorney before you take the plunge into marital bliss.
FindLaw has a list of 10 reasons which may cause a prenuptial agreement to fail. For more details, check out the original post, but this is a list of those reasons:
- NO WRITTEN AGREEMENT.
- NOT PROPERLY EXECUTED.
- YOU WERE PRESSURED.
- YOU DIDN’T READ IT.
- NO TIME FOR CONSIDERATION.
- INVALID PROVISIONS.
- FALSE INFORMATION.
- INCOMPLETE INFORMATION.
- NO INDEPENDENT COUNSEL.
In Georgia, some of these are valid reasons not to enforce a premarital agreement, others may not be. You should review a prenuptial agreement with a lawyer experienced in drafting and enforcing these agreements.
If you need a Georgia prenuptial agreement or have questions about them under Georgia law, we can help. Call us at our Marietta and Atlanta prenuptial agreements law offices at 770-425-6060.
Think “prenuptial agreement” and you think “I love you!”, right? Perhaps not! In my Marietta and Atlanta divorce and family law firm, I find that even though an important legal document like this can protect your bank account and other assets, many folks consider a prenup as a dealbreaker. According to Casey Bond, in an article published at GoBankingRates.com, asking for one can be construed as lack of trust by the party requesting it. Thus, it can be a challenge to persuade a potential spouse that having a prenup is a good idea when they have this attitude. This post summarizes Ms. Bond’s article on the radical concept of using postnuptial agreements to save a troubled marriage.
On the flip side, many engaged couples believe that signing a prenup is equal in importance to the marriage preparations as it is to reserve the church and register for gifts. But suppose you and your spouse chose not to enter into a pre-marital agreement concerning your finances and you now regret that choice? Your answer may be a postnup instead.
Prenup and Postnups : The Differences
Postnuptial agreements, often called post-marital contracts, are much less commonly used than prenups, but their popularity has been increasing in recent years. Essentially, these two contracts are created for the same purpose, but a postnuptial agreement is made after a couple has been married instead of doing it before the wedding.
The postnup’s purpose is to protect each spouse’s individual income and assets in case the marriage ends, whether as a result of divorce or death of one of the spouses. They are widely used in community property states where entitles one spouse is automatically to the other spouse’s assets when they become married. Remember, though, that every state’s laws and requirements surrounding postnuptial agreements are different.
Postnuptial Agreements: Who Needs Them?
Please understand that signing a postnup does not mean that you expect your marriage to end in divorce. These documents certainly are not for everyone, but a postnup can do a lot of good for many marriages under special circumstances:
Revising a Prenup: Many couples who choose to create a postnuptial agreement already have a prenuptial agreement in place. A postnup is often needed when one spouse has a significant shift in finances, like a promotion or inheritance, and the spouses find it necessary to modify the terms of the original prenuptial agreement. Indeed, there can be numerous changes to a postnup as the financial situation within a marriage changes over time.
Protect a Business: Many business owners will want postnups because a divorce could seriously threaten assets of the business or adversely affect outside partners and investors.
Fights About Finance: Any married person knows that finances and money are often a great source of strain on the relationship. This may be more true for some couples than for others. Occasionally couples who frequently argue over their finances and at risk of divorcing over the subject find that a postnuptial agreement can relieve that stress and once again strengthen the marriage.
Adultery: Postnups are also frequently used as resources for managing an unfaithful spouse. In marriages where a spouse has strayed and engaged in an adulterous relationship with another partner, the other may require in a postnuptial agreement that if it occurs again, the philanderer must pay a large amount of cash to their husband or wife. The question of whether or not this will actually improve the marriage is open to question.
Creating a Postnuptial Agreement
If you are already married and you believe the two of you need a postnuptial agreement, you should understand that the process is not as simple as writing up who-gets-what in case you get divorced and having a lawyer approve it. In Georgia, for a post-marital contract to be enforceable, both parties should have individual legal representation, they must provide full disclosure of each party’s financial situation (i.e., no secret bank accounts) and the contract should be reasonably fair to both parties.
In summary, if you find yourself in one of the categories listed above, You might can benefit greatly from having a postnuptial agreement and it could well be beneficial to create one. Whether it’s a business requirement, or whether it could actually save your marriage, if you believe a postnuptial agreement is a good idea, discuss it openly with your spouse. He or she may agree it is a good idea, too.
In our Marietta family law firm, we frequently prepare post-nuptial agreements and pre-nuptial agreements. Please contact us at 770-425-6060 to schedule a Georgia Family Law Strategy Session to discover more about these documents and whether they are appropriate for you and your spouse or spouse-to-be.
SOURCE FOR POST: Could a Postnuptial Agreement Save Your Marriage?, by Casey Bond in GoBankingRates.com
Traditional marriage vows are increasingly being revised to delete the words "till death do us part." Since almost half of all marriages end in divorce, many people who have children from a prior marriage or desire to protect assets such as ownership interests in a business choose to enter into a prenuptial agreement. Approximately 40 percent of marriages include a spouse who has been married before.
All 50 states recognize prenuptial agreements. They are simply contracts between prospective spouses entered into before the marriage that identify each spouse’s separate property and define each spouse’s rights in the other’s property, including future earnings, during and upon termination of the marriage by divorce or death. The prenuptial agreement can waive a spouse’s rights to alimony and provide for the rights of children from a prior marriage. A prenuptial agreement cannot waive rights to child support but can provide for additional support.
A business owner should include provisions in the prenuptial agreement that provide for the sale of the business from one spouse to the other. If this is not practical, then provisions should be included that cover who controls the business post-divorce. For example, a spouse can retain the right to share in the profits but give up voting rights regarding the business.
A common misconception about prenuptial agreements is that they are only for the wealthy. There are reasons other than preservation of assets and income for people to use prenuptials. A spouse may desire to provide for the care and support of children or grandchildren from a prior marriage or for needy parents. A good prenuptial agreement will allow the parties to a marriage to determine division of property, such as business ownership, in the event of a divorce, instead of a judge or jury. A common provision in prenuptial agreements is the agreement to make a will or create a trust in order to provide for the support of a spouse in lieu of alimony or division of property under the divorce laws. Another common provision in prenuptials is the agreement to make a separate buy-sell agreement regarding the sale of a business in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement can also provide for the obtaining of insurance for the benefit of a spouse.
There are certain technical provisions required in Georgia. For example, the agreement should be witnessed by two persons and should be recorded with the clerk of the superior court in the county where the parties reside.
In the past, Georgia courts refused to enforce prenuptial agreements. However, in 1982 the Georgia Supreme Court recognized the increased rate of divorce and ruled that prenuptial agreements were enforceable. Since then, Georgia courts have upheld prenuptial agreements if the answer to each of the following questions is "no":
1. Was the agreement obtained through fraud, duress or mistake, or through misrepresentation or nondisclosure of material facts? Each spouse should fully disclose his or her financial situation including assets and income. Financial statements for your business should also be disclosed. Each spouse should have a separate attorney who should sign a certificate stating that there has been full disclosure and each spouse understands the consequences of signing the agreement. It is advisable to enter into the agreement as far in advance of the marriage as possible. A prenuptial agreement entered into on the eve of the marriage could be subject to attack as being forced upon one spouse.
2. Is the agreement unconscionable? This means that if one side gets too greedy, a judge could throw the agreement out. Common sense should be the guide here. A spouse should not be left destitute. Also, make sure that only important items are covered in the agreement. For example, it is proper to discuss issues such as the religious training of children. It isn’t a good idea to put more trivial items in, such as requirements that a spouse maintain a certain weight.
3. Have the facts and circumstances changed since the agreement was executed, so as to make its enforcement unfair and unreasonable? For example, a significant decline in the health of a spouse could cause a judge to void the agreement. Georgia courts are reluctant to enforce a premarital agreement that would force a spouse to apply for welfare. It’s a good idea to review a prenuptial agreement every few years.
A prenuptial agreement may not be a very romantic subject to discuss prior to marriage. However, it is a valuable tool for the legal strategist who hopes for the best and prepares for the worst.
SOURCE: Atlanta Business Chronicle by Dan Kolber