When Do I Need a Prenup?

Many people are familiar with the phrase, but few understand exactly how a prenup works. A prenuptial agreement (also called a premarital agreement) can meet many different goals through many different mechanisms. Consult with an experienced Georgia family law attorney to protect your assets and ensure that your financial goals are met.

What Can a Premarital Agreement Do?

When considering a premarital agreement, it is important to have a clear understanding of your specific goals. A prenup is not the right tool for punishing infidelity or hiding assets from your spouse. Here are some goals that can be addressed in a premarital agreement:

  • Rights and obligations in the property owned by either spouse
  • The rights to manage and control property (buy, sell, lease, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, consume, expend, assign, mortgage, dispose of, etc.)
  • How property will be disposed of upon separation, divorce, or death of either spouse.
  • Preparation of documents (such as a will or trust) to carry out the provisions of the premarital agreement
  • Rights in life insurance policy equity and benefits
  • The law that will be applied to interpret the premarital agreement in the event of a dispute
  • Provisions for alimony

By very clearly identifying your specific goals, an attorney can help you find the best legal tools for meeting these goals and protecting your legal and financial interests.

Antemarital Agreements

Even after two spouses are married, the Georgia Code allows them to make agreements regarding property matters. These are known as antemarital agreements. In general, antemarital agreements are enforceable against either spouse, provided that third party or creditor’s rights are not impaired by the agreement. Antemarital agreements must also be recorded in order to be enforceable against subsequent creditors or purchasers of the subject property.

In general, both premarital and antemarital agreements are to be construed liberally by the court in order to effectuate whatever intent the parties had in executing the agreement. This allows spouses to introduce evidence of what their intent actually was. There are, however, limits upon how far this can extend. In 2006, the case of Chubbock v. Lake (281 Ga. 218, 635 SE2d 764) reversed a trial court’s decision to allow evidence of an unenforceable premarital agreement. The agreement did not have the required number of witnesses and had therefore been deemed unenforceable against either spouse. The trial judge, however, allowed the agreement to be shown to the jury so it could draw inferences about the parties’ intent. The appellate court determined that, even under the wide latitude allowed for evidence of the parties’ intent, this was not proper.

Experienced Representation to Protect Your Property Rights

Marriage is an exciting time, but it can also expose a person’s assets to the debts and liabilities of his or her spouse. Protect yourself, your family, and your property by consulting with an experienced family law attorney about premarital agreements and other tools for protecting your assets. To schedule a consultation and case evaluation with a Suwanee, Johns Creek, Cumming, Forsyth County, Gwinnett County, Dawsonville, Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, or Dawson County family law attorney, please call us today at 678-456-4627 or contact us online.