Most people never think twice about the importance of planning for their retirement, since nearly everyone understands the need for financial security in their twilight years. However, far fewer people take the same approach to preparing for the financial consequences that could come with a divorce.
Prenuptial agreements have gained popularity with couples from all socioeconomic groups as a way to protect themselves if their relationship ends, and an experienced family attorney could be well-equipped to help you explore this option yourself. When you and your partner are discussing your future, think about scheduling an appointment with a Cobb County prenuptial agreements lawyer to learn about what these marital contracts can do for you.
Couples who want a prenuptial agreement can tailor their contract to fit their unique circumstances. In general, a Cobb County prenuptial agreements attorney could help a couple utilize these legally-binding contracts to disburse assets, avoid debts, and simplify the divorce process.
A prenuptial agreement can define a couple’s financial rights and responsibilities in their relationship. During a marriage, both spouses share ownership and responsibility for all the assets and debts that each person acquires regardless of how titled. A prenuptial agreement could define who owns certain assets and protect each spouse from any debt their partner incurs.
Prenuptial agreements are common when one or both spouses have children from a previous relationship. When a married person dies, their spouse has the right to inherit a large part of their estate. A prenuptial agreement could keep property separate as an inheritance for a spouse’s children and grandchildren.
During a divorce, parties must list and value their assets, divide them equitably, and determine if the law requires alimony or spousal support. A prenuptial agreement could help settle all these issues without going through a lengthy legal process. Additionally, parties can decide in advance how they will negotiate their divorce by requiring mediation, arbitration, or collaborative divorce techniques before using litigation.
The primary matter that a prenuptial agreement cannot cover is the care and support of children. Georgia law requires the court to approve any parenting plan to ensure that it is in the best interests of the children involved. As such, a prenuptial agreement cannot decide who will have custody of children or how much visitation a parent may have with their kids.
Similarly, a couple cannot use a prenuptial contract to decide on the amount of child support that a person will pay. Georgia law calculates child support based on each parent’s income at the time of the divorce and on the guidelines provided in state statutes. Child support calculations cannot be made ahead of time and must also be approved by a judge.
Most judges favor prenuptial agreements and rarely refuse to enforce them. When deciding if a contract is valid and enforceable, a judge typically analyzes several factors.
First, the judge looks to see if the agreement is legally valid. Prenuptial contracts in Georgia must be in writing, signed by both parties as competent adults, and witnessed by two people, and the parties should fully disclose their financial status to each other and have their own attorney review the contract. If the prenup is legally valid, the court would then decide if the circumstances of the agreement are such that it is in the interests of justice to refuse to enforce it.
In general, a spouse can avoid the enforceability of a prenuptial agreement by proving that there was a misrepresentation of material facts related to a party’s financial circumstances or that the terms are unconscionable. Consulting with a prenuptial contracts lawyer in Cobb County could be a good way to ensure that such an agreement is fair and enforceable from the moment it is drafted.
A valid prenuptial agreement can be a valuable financial and estate planning tool. If you are getting married, take steps to protect yourself financially for the future by scheduling an appointment with a Cobb County prenuptial agreements lawyer today.