What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

If you are getting married in Georgia, you may have heard other people talking about prenuptial agreements, which are sometimes referred to as premarital agreements. Many individuals who decide to get married work with a Georgia family law attorney to draft and sign a contract that states what will happen in the event of a divorce. Although the tradition of prenuptial agreements originated only with wealthy individuals as a way of protecting their assets in the event of a divorce, these premarital agreements are becoming more and more common in Georgia and throughout the country. If you are getting married in Georgia and may be considering a prenuptial agreement, continue reading to see what is involved and why you should also consider legal counsel.

Defining Prenuptial Agreements: What Are They?

Prenuptial agreements are contracts between two parties when they are planning to get married. In theory, and in the best-case scenario, all marriages will last and will not lead to divorce. However, there are more than 2,100,000 marriages each year across the US, and more than 800,000 divorces, which means for each marriage that takes place, 38% of other marriages are failing.

Why are these numbers important? In brief, many Georgia couples should make plans in the event of divorce even if they have no plans to dissolve their marriages. Life situations can change, and unexpected events can lead to divorce. While many states have a Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act, a congressional bill helping states uniformly recognize and accept the terms of premarital contracts, Georgia is not one of those states. That does not mean, however, that couples cannot enter into a prenuptial agreement. In Georgia, prenuptial agreements allow couples to come to an agreement about some of the following in a written contract prior to the marriage:

  • How marital property will be divided in the event of divorce;
  • How the couple will handle debts from the marriage (including who will be responsible for which debts);
  • How other marital assets will be divided; and
  • How the court will treat certain assets and debts from the parties prior to the marriage (in other words, the prenuptial agreement can identify specific assets or debts as separate property, indicating that they will not be divisible in the event of divorce).

Learning More About Prenuptial Agreements and Georgia Law

Under Georgia law, prenuptial agreements are defined as marriage contracts. Here is what the statute says:

“Every marriage contract in writing, made in contemplation of marriage, shall be liberally construed to carry into effect the intention of the parties and no want of form or technical expression shall invalidate the same.”

The statute, in effect, says that courts will err on the side of enforcing prenuptial agreements unless there are problems with the execution of the contract. A Georgia court might not enforce a prenuptial agreement if one of the following is true:

  • The agreement is not in writing;
  • The agreement was obtained through fraud, duress, mistake, or another type of misrepresentation;
  • The agreement no longer applies to the couple due to a significant change in circumstances; and/or
  • The agreement is unconscionable.

In the event of a divorce, you will certainly want to ensure that the contract you draft with your spouse is concise and legally binding. For that, I would highly encourage you to speak with me as an experienced Georgia divorce lawyer. I have specific and extensive experience helping couples draft a prenuptial agreement that satisfies both the law and the two parties’ desires. I am in a unique position to advise you on certain agreements that will be legally binding in court and which ones to avoid. To ensure your prenuptial agreement is upheld and the division of your property in the event of a divorce is sustained, I highly encourage you to reach out to me today to work together on this important contract before you begin your lives together in marriage.

Seek Advice from a Georgia Family Law Attorney

Do you have questions about drafting a prenuptial agreement or concerns about the enforcement of an existing contract? An experienced Georgia family law attorney can help. Contact the law office of Mitchell & Crunk today for more information about our services.