Once thought of as controversial, prenuptial agreements (also called "premarital agreements") are now considered an effective way to plan for the future. Although each newly married couple hopes for the best, preparing for the unexpected is a responsible way to enter into the marriage contract.
At The Siemon Law Firm, our attorneys guide clients in matters involving prenuptial agreements as well as postnuptial agreements and separation agreements. From our offices in Atlanta, Alpharetta and Cumming, we serve clients in Fulton County, Forsyth County and throughout northern Georgia.
While some couples choose not to create a prenuptial agreement, others — especially those who have been married before — see a prenuptial agreement as a way to prevent unexpected legal difficulties in the future.
Why Create A Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement can address the specific concerns that a couple may have prior to marriage. Most commonly, it is used to address topics relating to property division and spousal maintenance, should the relationship end in divorce. In the event of a divorce, the prenuptial agreement is referenced by the court and can play an important role in the ultimate outcome.
Georgia is an equitable property division state, meaning that property is not always divided 50-50 in divorce. Instead, the courts consider a number of factors in determining a fair division of property. The courts will consider a prenuptial agreement in their property division determinations.
In addition to addressing property division issues, these agreements are often used to protect children from a prior marriage and ensure that family heirlooms remain with the intended beneficiaries.
Postnuptial Agreements: Taking Precautions With Your Future
A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement except that it is drafted after a couple is married. In the unfortunate event that your marriage ends, having a secure postnuptial agreement in place can protect your interests and defend your future.
This agreement is commonly used to define the potential terms of spousal support (alimony) and the equitable division of property. It can also help protect the interests of children from a prior relationship or make sure that inheritances pass to the intended beneficiaries. One issue this type of contract cannot address is child custody. Only a divorce agreement or order can determine custody of children.
What Can You Do With A 'Postnup'?
There are several reasons to consider crafting a postnuptial agreement. If you inherit a significant sum of money after your marriage, for instance, you may consider an agreement. This contract can ensure that your inheritance gets passed to your children from a prior marriage or to other beneficiaries instead of going to your spouse.
You can also use this type of agreement to keep separate property from becoming marital property when it is commingled. For instance, if you take $300,000 from your personal bank account and use it for a down payment on a home that is jointly owned by you and your spouse, you can use a postnup to say that the marital equity in the house does not include the down payment.
In some situations, one spouse will create a postnuptial agreement after the other spouse has an affair, gambles away their savings or commits some other offense. In such cases, the contract can allow the couple to keep living together while specifying that the offending spouse will not get alimony or a certain amount of assets, for instance, should they eventually divorce.
Doesn't It Look Bad To Create A Prenuptial Or Postnuptial Agreement?
No longer is a stigma attached to prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Rather, these documents are used as a precaution. Even the most stable relationship can change over time. A prenup or a postnuptial agreement can provide couples with peace of mind knowing that their interests will be protected during and potentially after marriage.
Learn more about how The Siemon Law Firm can assist you with postnuptial, prenuptial or separation agreements by arranging a consultation with one of our lawyers today. Simply call our Atlanta office at 770-884-7067, or send us an email.