If you have assets, property, or children from a previous marriage, you and your prospective spouse should consider creating a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement can help both spouses understand their financial rights and responsibilities, determine how one spouse's property can be passed to children from a previous marriage, and protect spouses from each other's debts. Contact our family lawyers today and let us help you draft a prenuptial agreement that fits your needs.Why Enter into a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement, otherwise known as a premarital or antenuptial agreement is a contract you and your future spouse can enter into before your marriage. Prenuptial agreements are typically used to spell out how you and your spouse will handle your finances and the division of property if your marriage ends. You can also lay out how you want these issues to be handled even during the course of your marriage.
Many people mistakenly believe that prenuptial agreements are only for celebrities or the extremely wealthy. This could not be further from the truth. Anyone can enter into a prenuptial agreement, and while they may not suit everyone’s needs, they can help you and your spouse protect your assets in the event of a divorce. This is especially important if one or both of you has a family-owned business or a high net worth that they might wish to protect.
A prenuptial agreement can allow you and your spouse to document the property that you own and distinguish between what is yours and what belongs to the two of you. It can be used to assign liability for debts to the appropriate spouse, detail any special financial arrangements you and your spouse have, and establish rules for any future monetary issues that might arise. You can also use it as an estate planning tool to protect the inheritances of your adult children, should you ever remarry.
By entering into a prenuptial agreement, you and your spouse can also avoid conflicts and extended court proceedings in the event of a divorce, since the two of you already established how your property and finances would be divided. A prenuptial agreement can also potentially help you avoid a divorce. Financial disagreements are one of the most commonly cited reasons for divorce and talking to your spouse ahead of time about your finances and assets can help avoid these disagreements.What Can't a Prenuptial Agreement Cover?
Although a prenuptial agreement is useful for resolving potential financial issues in a marriage or a divorce, there are some issues it cannot address. For example, a prenuptial agreement in Georgia cannot determine child custody or child support. This is because custody issues are decided based on what the judge feels is in the child's best interests, while child support is determined by the court and based on the parents' incomes and the child's needs. A prenuptial agreement cannot take these decisions out of the court's hands.
A prenuptial agreement also cannot take away your responsibility to pay debts you had before your marriage or lay out personal preferences, such as where your children will go to school or who is responsible for the chores. Prenuptial agreements are intended solely to cover financial issues. You are also not allowed to include provisions that could be interpreted as a financial incentive for divorce in your prenuptial agreement. Finally, the court has the right to disregard any provisions in the prenuptial agreement that they rule as being unjust or unfair.
Finally, even if a prenuptial agreement would help you and your spouse, the timing might not be right. You might want to wait until you are married and have a better idea of how your household finances will need to be managed. In that case, your contract would be known as a postnuptial agreement, although all the above provisions and stipulations will still apply.Our Family Law Attorneys Can Help
A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement might not suit everyone's needs, but they can help you and your spouse avoid conflict and allow you to protect what is yours in the event of a divorce. If you are considering entering into one of these contracts, contact the Don Turner Legal Team today. Our experienced family law attorneys can help you and your current or future spouse create an agreement that suits your needs and helps secure your financial future.