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Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYS PROTECTING THE INTERESTS OF ATLANTA RESIDENTS

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are contracts that govern matters related to a couple’s marriage, such as spousal support or the division of assets and debts, in the event that the couple separates or divorces. Prenuptial agreements are entered into prior to marriage, and postnuptial agreements are executed during marriage. If you would like to find out more about these arrangements, or if you need representation or advice when enforcing or challenging one of them, the family law lawyers at the Law Offices of Thomas C. Rowsey can help. We have assisted individuals in the Atlanta area for over two decades in a variety of divorce-related matters, including the execution and enforcement of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.

PRENUPTIAL AND POSTNUPTIAL AGREEMENTS

One often hears of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements coming to light when the marriages of Hollywood stars, heirs and heiresses, or corporate tycoons hit the rocks. However, many other couples also find it desirable to put such agreements in place. There are several reasons for this.

When people marry late in life, they may have already acquired significant personal assets, whether from a successful career, from a former marriage, or from an inheritance. These individuals may execute an agreement to make sure they will not lose assets they have already acquired in the event that their marriages do not work out.

Also, many couples believe it is wiser to settle these sorts of matters when they are happy together, so that, if their marriage later breaks down, financial decisions will be fair, and not affected by animosity. Even more, these agreements may also put in place incentives for the couples to make their marriages work. For example, an agreement can provide that a spouse who is unfaithful, abusive, or addicted to drugs will be required to surrender assets or will be denied spousal support in the event of divorce.

Whatever the impetus for the agreement, many couples utilize them to clarify:

  • What constitutes the separate property of each spouse during marriage and in the event of separation, divorce, or death;
  • What assets constitute joint property, and how responsibility will be allocated between the spouses regarding its management or disposal during marriage or at the time of separation or divorce;
  • Who is responsible for specific debts;
  • Provisions for spousal support in the event of separation or divorce; or
  • Provisions for the division of assets and debts in the event of separation or divorce.

As noted above, in addition to financial issues, pre- and postnuptial agreements can address more personal subjects that are of special concern. For example, if either spouse has a child or children from a prior marriage, the agreement may wish to spell out the financial and other responsibilities and obligations of each spouse regarding their natural or step-children. It should be noted, however, that these agreements may not determine child custody or support issues. Under Georgia law, these issues are within the sole discretion of the court.

While prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are generally enforceable, challenges can arise if the time comes when one or the other party seeks enforcement. Common challenges include arguing that the agreement was procured by fraud, duress, or error, or that one or both of the parties lacked capacity to legally execute the agreement. Spouses also may claim that the terms of the agreement are unconscionable or against public policy, that one or both of the parties misrepresented or failed to disclose material facts at the time of execution, or that enforcement would lead to an unreasonable or unfair result because the circumstances of the couple have materially changed since execution.

Even if an agreement is valid, couples may also find themselves needing legal assistance if they dispute the meaning of any specific provisions in it.

CONSULT AN ATLANTA LAWYER TO DISCUSS YOUR OPTIONS DURING DIVORCE

At the Law Offices of Thomas C. Rowsey, our divorce attorneys can assist Atlanta residents in drafting and execution, enforcement, or challenges to the enforcement of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. For advice, assistance, or representation, call us at (770) 993-5317, or use our online form to set up a free consultation. We proudly serve clients throughout Georgia, including in Roswell, Alpharetta, and Sandy Springs.