Getting engaged to be married is an exciting time in any couple’s life together. Engaged couples spend hours planning their future, from where they want to live to the number of children they want to have. One thing couples may not always prepare for, however, is the unfortunate possibility that their relationship may not last forever.
A prenuptial agreement is a family law contract that may help people protect the property they already own or protect their financial future after a divorce, and drafting one is a task that may be significantly simplified with a family attorney’s assistance. If you are getting married soon, contact a Forsyth County prenuptial agreement lawyer to learn more about your options.
A couple who wants to create a prenuptial agreement must follow certain requirements to ensure the document is valid under Georgia law. A qualified attorney could help Forsyth County residents identify how these laws may specifically affect the drafting of their prenuptial contracts.
The first of these requirements is that the promises made must be in writing. Oral contracts are not enforceable, so couples must be sure that the terms that they want to be enforced are contained within their written agreement.
Next, Georgia law states that a valid prenuptial agreement must have two witnesses who will attest to its validity. These witnesses may be called to testify that a document was freely and voluntarily signed.
A judge may refuse to enforce a prenuptial agreement if there is proof that the document was signed under duress or through fraud. Duress is more than simply being forced to sign a prenuptial agreement as a condition of marriage—usually, it involves threats of violence or other serious harm against the person who was refusing to sign. Similarly, a judge might invalidate a prenuptial agreement when one party lied about their financial circumstances to persuade their partner to sign.
A prenuptial agreement may likewise be invalid if its terms are unconscionable or would be unreasonable given the parties’ circumstances. For example, a judge would likely refuse to uphold an agreement that leaves one of the parties impoverished or reliant on public assistance to survive. Alternatively, each party’s circumstances may have changed so much during the marriage that it would be shocking or immoral to enforce the terms of the agreement.
Finally, provisions of a prenuptial agreement that attempt to determine issues of child support or child custody are not valid. These issues must be decided during a divorce using the guidelines provided in state law.
Though prenuptial agreements have something of a bad reputation, these contracts can be invaluable for couples of all income ranges. Among other purposes, a prenuptial agreement can serve to outline each spouse’s rights and responsibilities during a marriage, decide what will happen with property that spouses owned before the marriage, and determine how they will divide property acquired during a marriage.
These agreements can also free up spouses to do what they want both during and after marriage. For example, a prenuptial agreement could reward one spouse for paying the bills while the other one finishes school. Alternatively, if one spouse gives up a career to stay home and raise children, the contract could account for that sacrifice.
In addition, people getting married for the second or subsequent time frequently consult with Forsyth County prenuptial agreement lawyers to protect their assets for their children or grandchildren. Rather than risking their assets becoming the property of their former spouse in a divorce, a prenuptial agreement can keep assets separate and outside the jurisdiction of the family law court.
Creating a prenuptial agreement should not be thought of as a negative thing for an upcoming marriage. Many couples who draft these contracts feel more secure in their relationship and benefit greatly from the peace of mind that they provide.
If you are getting married soon, prepare yourself for all possibilities. Speak with your partner about retaining a Forsyth County prenuptial agreement lawyer as part of your wedding preparations.