When people get married, the last thought on their minds is divorce. That’s why prenuptial agreements are so important.
When you get married you are likely going to be deeply in love. But if and when things go wrong, it will be the antithesis, and you’ll need someone or something to sort things out. While you might be able to rely on friends and family to support you emotionally during a divorce, unless you have a legal agreement, you could lose assets. And while you may not think assets matter when you tie the knot, if you lose your savings, or don’t have a bed to sleep in, a television set to watch, or a car to drive – just because your ex decides to get nasty – you’ll change your mindset quite quickly if things turn ugly.
Sadly, as special as marriage is, divorce is usually very ugly.
With this in mind, an experienced Peachtree City family law attorney highlights the importance of prenuptial agreements, and explains how they work.
Peachtree City Family Law Attorney Explains What Prenuptial Agreements Are and How They Work
Prenuptial agreements (also known as antenuptial contracts or prenups) are written agreements between couples that are about to get married detailing their current assets and confirming, in advance, how property and assets (including money) accumulated during the marriage will be divided in the event of a divorce, or even separation. They are also used to protect a spouse in the event of existing debt, and may come into play if one spouse dies.
Essentially a prenuptial agreement is a formal contract designed to protect both parties, particularly where existing or expected assets are involved. The latter include any likely inheritance or assets that might get paid over from shares or from a trust. The agreement may also specify that property or assets earned or accumulated during the marriage be divided in a specified way. So, for instance, a husband and wife may decide in advance that whatever benefits they accrue from their respective careers remains their property, and may not be shared if the marriage ends.
On the other hand, the couple may want to divide everything equally, perhaps keeping what was theirs prior to the marriage. In this case the agreement would differentiate between shared “community property,” and property that is considered individually owned.
Starry-eyed couples embarking on their first marital journey often think the suggestion of a prenuptial agreement indicates a lack of trust in their partner. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, it starts the marriage on a footing that is both honest and trustworthy.
The idea that prenuptial agreements are only required for celebrities and wealthy individuals is also untrue, even though the most common motivation for a prenup is to protect one or other, or both parties from losing an unfair percentage of their wealth if the marriage is dissolved.
Having a Prenuptial Agreement Drawn Up
The first step is to meet with an attorney who thoroughly understands the laws regarding marriage and divorce. So if you live in or near Fayette County, Georgia, you should make an appointment with a reputable Peachtree City family law attorney.
An experienced family law attorney will be able to advise what can and should be included in a prenuptial agreement. These items range from savings contributions and retirement benefits to investments, and may include management of any joint bank accounts and even household expenses and outstanding bills.
Other issues a family law attorney will be able to explain include the need for full disclosure of assets. If one or other spouse gives false information about the value of assets, or has assets that they don’t declare, if and when it comes to divorce, the entire prenuptial agreement could be thrown out of court. Similarly, the case could be dismissed if their was evidence that the agreement was signed under duress – even though this is very difficult to prove.
If a prenuptial agreement was badly drafted, or wasn’t filed correctly, or if it was signed without proper legal representation, it may be ruled invalid. To be effective, both parties should have their own separate family law attorneys.
For more information and invaluable advice, contact the Peachtree City family law attorney team at Slepian, Schwarz & Landgaard.