Tonight’s post on creating prenups was written by one of our Marietta Family Law Attorneys, Steve Worrall.
We usually hear about prenuptial agreements when a celebrity split splashes across the tabloids. But you may be surprised to know that the use of prenups is becoming more and more commonplace among regular folks who want an added layer of financial protection when blending “his, hers and theirs.”
The “prenup,” as it’s generally known goes by many names:
- Prenuptial Agreement
- Premarital Agreement
- Antenuptial Agreement
The “pre” (or “ante”) part means “before,” and “nuptial” means marriage. Therefore, it is an agreement entered into prior to a marriage contract. In fact, the prenuptial lawyer will explain to you that the prenup itself is a contract, laying out various rights and responsibilities of both parties. The fact that there are two individuals involved is an important aspect. Even though marriage means that your lives will become “one,” the prenuptial agreement extends to each spouse individually. In fact, in Georgia, each of the parties should have his or her own prenuptial lawyer.
The need for separate lawyers is due to the fact that the courts want to be sure that one spouse isn’t being unfairly disadvantaged by the prenup. When each partner has a lawyer, it helps to make sure that both parties’ interests are being looked after. This makes a prenuptial agreement much more likely to withstand scrutiny later on, should one partner try to have it declared invalid for some reason.
The prenup itself can be used for various purposes. Most commonly, a Georgia prenup lawyer will prepare the document to outline how property would be divided in case the marriage ends in divorce. Spousal support is also a common topic covered in a prenuptial agreement. Special provisions can also be laid out regarding what the spouses will receive based on certain factors, such as number of years married or infidelity on one spouse’s part. On the other hand, child custody issues are generally never governed by a prenuptial agreement, and a good prenup lawyer will direct you not to include these types of provisions in your document.
These kinds of agreements are not only created before a marriage has been entered into, although that is certainly the most common way it’s done in Georgia. There are times when a couple who are already married decide that they would like the same kinds of protection that a prenup would offer, so they choose to have their lawyers-again, they should have separate lawyers – draft a postnuptial agreement. “Post” means “after,” so a post-nuptial agreement is signed after a marriage. If you’ve already tied the knot and desire this protection, creating a postnuptial agreement is an excellent idea.
Again, your family law lawyer can walk you though the steps necessary for safeguarding your assets and starting your marriage off on a solid legal and financial foundation using either a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.