Prenuptial Agreements in Georgia
Protecting Your Assets from Before the Marriage
Prenuptial agreements (technically called “ante-nuptial agreements”) are intended to protect the assets from one or both spouses entering into a marriage. Prenuptial agreements are commonly misunderstood, so let’s start out by talking a little bit about what they are NOT.
- A premarital agreement is NOT something reserved for multi-millionaires
- A premarital agreement is NOT a document that defines how the divorce will go, should a divorce happen
- A premarital agreement is NOT a way to have one spouse leave the marriage empty handed.
- A premarital agreement does NOT override existing Georgia family law.
What IS a Premarital Agreement?
To really understand a prenuptial agreement you have to understand the difference between separate (also known as pre-marital) property and marital property.
- Marital Property Is the income / increase in value of assets that a married couple collects during the marriage. This is generally what is considered for distribution between the divorcing spouses.
- Separate or Pre-Marital Property is, plainly stated, all the “stuff” you had before the marriage. Real estate, savings, items of value, etc.
A premarital agreement defines what should be considered separate property and what should be considered pre-marital property. It’s simply a document saying “these are the things I owned BEFORE the marriage”.
What Can Make a Prenuptial Agreement Invalid?
There are a handful of circumstances that can invalidate or dramatically limit the effectiveness of a prenuptial agreement.
- Not fully disclosing all assets of each spouse along with the agreement. Georgia law requires that a full disclosure of each party’s assets for a prenuptial agreement to be valid.
- Preparing and signing the prenuptial agreement too close to the wedding date. There is an assumption that an agreement dated close to the date of the wedding may have been signed under duress / the threat of canceling the wedding day.
- Commingling marital and premarital assets. If you have liquid assets that are protected by a prenuptial agreement, it’s important to keep those in a separate account with only your name on it.
- A prenuptial agreement signed in Georgia may not be valid in other states
- Each Party NOT Having their own attorney. Each spouse is required to have their own representation for a prenuptial agreement. If only one attorney is used, the unrepresented party must sign an acknowledgement that he or she refused representation.
Prenuptial Agreement Attorney in Georgia
If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, the attorneys at the Law Office of Gina Smalley can help. If you are facing a divorce and there is a prenuptial agreement involved, we can help you determine how that agreement will affect the outcome of your divorce. Contact us today to take the first step.