The term prenuptial agreement is not one many people want to bring up with their soon-to-be spouse in Douglasville, GA. Entering marital agreements is often viewed as planning for a divorce. It is as if you expect you and your spouse not to make it “till death do you part.”
However, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be very healthy and beneficial. Couples who engage in open and honest communication about financial matters before their marriage resolve issues that could cause marital problems in the future. Furthermore, negotiating a prenuptial agreement can help identify issues the couple needs to work on before committing to marriage.
Our Douglasville prenuptial-postnuptial agreements lawyers at Bardley McKnight Law have extensive experience negotiating marital agreements. We help you identify and prioritize your goals to develop a plan for negotiating a fair agreement with your partner. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators with decades of experience.
Contact Bardley McKnight Law or call (470) 308-5409 for a consultation with a Douglasville prenuptial-postnuptial agreements attorney. We are here to provide compassionate, effective legal services when you need a trusted advocate for your best interests.
How Bardley McKnight Law Can Help You With a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement in Douglasville, GA
Prenuptial-postnuptial agreements can be a sensitive subject to broach with your partner. However, with a large number of marriages ending in divorce, a marital agreement can help you avoid costly and stressful litigation. We can help you develop a strategy for approaching your partner that does not make it sound like you have doubts and are planning a divorce before you say, “I do.”
At Bardley McKnight Law, our legal team consists of dedicated Douglasville family law attorneys. We are here to help you take responsible steps to protect yourself if the unthinkable happens and you end up in divorce court. We also handle all matters related to divorces should you need to leave your spouse.
When you hire our top-rated Douglasville divorce and family lawyers, you can trust that we will:
- Advocate for your best interests throughout the entire process of negotiating and entering a prenuptial-postnuptial agreement
- Facilitate an honest and open discussion with your partner regarding your expectations and goals
- Help you identify the key issues you want to address in the marital agreement
- Draft a valid prenuptial-postnuptial agreement that meets your expectations and is enforceable in court
- Review proposed agreements to ensure they are fair
Prenuptial-postnuptial agreements are not only for wealthy individuals. Premarital agreements can benefit most couples.
Contact our law office to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced prenuptial-postnuptial agreements lawyers in Douglasville, Georgia.
Prenuptial vs. Postnuptial Agreements in Georgia
A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into between individuals before marriage. The terms of a prenuptial agreement do not take effect until the couple is legally married. A postnuptial agreement is a contract a couple enters after they are legally married.
These marital agreements decide the arrangements for property division, spousal support, division of assets, inheritance, and other financial matters if you divorce. Some states do not enforce or recognize prenuptial-postnuptial agreements. However, Georgia courts generally enforce these agreements if they meet the conditions for a valid marital agreement.
What Are the Requirements for Prenuptial Agreements in Georgia?
Georgia courts rejected many prenuptial agreements until 1982. The Georgia Supreme Court decision in Scherer vs. Scherer changed that position.
The court held that marital agreements could be enforced as long as specific requirements were met. The factors became known as the Scherer test or Scherer factors. The three-part test was restated in Blige vs. Blige in 2008.
The three-part test for a valid prenuptial agreement in Georgia is:
- The agreement was not the result of duress, fraud, nondisclosure of material facts, misrepresentation, or mistake;
- The agreement is not unconscionable (something that is not in accordance with what is reasonable and fair); and,
- Enforcement of the agreement would be fair and reasonable given the relevant circumstances and facts when the agreement was executed and changes that the parties could not have contemplated.
Other requirements for a valid prenup in Georgia include:
- The agreement must be in writing
- Each party has the chance to review the agreement with a lawyer
- The prenup should be negotiated and signed within a reasonable time before the wedding ceremony
- Both parties must sign the agreement
- The agreement should have at least two witnesses
- The agreement should be notarized
- There must have been complete disclosure of all financial matters and assets by both parties
Each party should have separate counsel to ensure the negotiations and agreement are fair. Our Douglasville prenuptial-postnuptial agreements lawyers work with you to ensure the agreement you sign is fair and enforceable under Georgia law.
What Can You Include in a Prenuptial Agreement in Georgia?
A prenup is a contract between you and your future spouse. During negotiations, you and your partner disclose all information regarding your property and debts. Then, you discuss how you will handle finances if you divorce.
Items that you can include in a Georgia prenuptial agreement include:
- How to determine separate and marital assets
- The division of marital assets during a divorce
- The payment of alimony or spousal support
- How to divide retirement accounts
- Outline inheritance rights (although you should also have an estate plan and a Will)
- Agreements about how you will approach spending and saving during your marriage
- Filing tax returns
- Provisions for children from a previous relationship
- How to handle and divide business interests
- Investment strategies during your marriage
- Stipulations for putting a spouse through school
- Agreements regarding a spouse not working to care for the home and children
- Management of household bills and joint accounts
- The nature of spousal gifts during a divorce
Stipulations that are not related to finances may not be enforceable and could create problems for the validity of your prenuptial agreement. Also, you cannot decide on matters related to child custody and child support. Instead, family courts generally have that authority.
What Are the Benefits of Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements for Couples in Douglasville, GA?
Prenuptial-postnuptial agreements can offer several benefits for couples. An increasing number of couples are entering marital agreements. Benefits of a prenup include:
- You resolve important financial issues upfront, before any emotionally-charged divorce proceedings
- Negotiating a prenup gives couples the opportunity to discuss financial matters and future plans with skilled lawyers guiding the conversation
- Prenuptial-postnuptial agreements offer privacy during a divorce action by settling matters outside of the courtroom
- Each party can protect family heirlooms and separate property from equitable property division during a divorce
- Spouses that stay at home can have peace of mind that they have financial provisions in place should the marriage end
- Protecting a family business from being subject to asset division in a divorce
- A spouse can be protected from assuming debts the other person brings into the marriage
- Protecting commingled assets from being classified as marital property
A prenuptial-postnuptial agreement does not mean a couple will not have issues to decide during a divorce proceeding. However, by resolving many of the issues that would arise, a couple can reduce the time, cost, and emotional toll of a divorce action.
Challenging Prenuptial Agreements in Douglasville, GA
A validly executed prenuptial-postnuptial agreement that meets all the requirements for a Georgia prenup can be difficult to challenge. One of the purposes of the prenup is to be able to enforce the terms in court.
However, there are situations in which prenuptial-postnuptial agreements can be challenged. Grounds for challenging a marital agreement include:
- Circumstances have changed since you signed the prenuptial agreement that you could not have anticipated when you signed the agreement. Enforcing the agreement in light of the changes would be unfair and unreasonable.
- The agreement was unconscionable when it was executed. The terms of the agreement benefit one spouse to the point that the agreement is unreasonably unfair to the other spouse.
- A person used fraud, threats, or misrepresentation to obtain the other person’s agreement and signature. A prenup must be entered into freely, and the person must have the chance to review the agreement with a lawyer.
- One or both parties intentionally concealed information and assets during the negotiations for the prenuptial-postnuptial agreement.
You can avoid challenges to prenuptial-postnuptial agreements by hiring an experienced attorney. Your partner should also have a lawyer. When parties are represented by separate counsel, the chance of coercion or fraud decreases. If you believe your prenup is unfair, talk with one of our lawyers about grounds for challenging the agreement in court.
Schedule a Consultation With Our Douglasville Prenuptial-Postnuptial Agreements Lawyers
Do you have questions about marital agreements in Georgia? If so, contact our family law firm to schedule an initial consultation with an experienced Douglasville prenuptial-postnuptial agreements attorney. The key to negotiating a fair marital agreement is to have guidance and advice from an experienced family law attorney.