Under Georgia law, marriage is a contract. Although that is not the most romantic way to think about the process, it is important. When you get married, you end up sharing a significant amount with your spouse—including property, debt, and business interests. You also create a financial responsibility to each other.
You can take steps to protect your interests through a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. This significantly helps reduce conflict in the event of divorce. More importantly, it helps you and your spouse get on the same page financially.
What is a Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement addresses how certain issues will be handled if a couple gets divorced. It is an investment in your financial future and the health of your relationship. In a prenup, you and your spouse decide exactly what your financial rights and obligations to each other are. Without a prenup, the default Georgia law applies.
The couple creates and signs the prenuptial agreement before the wedding. It can address things like:
- What property will be marital and what will be separate
- How property will be divided
- Issues about alimony
- How debts will be treated
A postnuptial agreement can address all the same issues. The only difference is that the agreement is signed after the couple gets married.
These agreements cannot address child support or child custody. Those sensitive subjects are determined at the time of divorce. A prenup cannot accurately predict what will be in a child’s best interests years down the line.
Enforceability of Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements
Not every postnuptial or prenuptial agreement will be valid under Georgia law. Either party can challenge the validity based on the facts at the time of signing or time of divorce. The court will look at whether:
- There was fraud, duress, or mistake
- The agreement was unconscionable
- Changes in fact make the agreement unreasonable
Having an experienced attorney create these agreements is essential. We can help you draft this document in a way that reduces the risk of a legal challenge.
What is a Cohabitation Agreement?
In practice, a cohabitation agreement operates just like a postnuptial or prenuptial agreement. The difference is the couple lives together but does not get married.
Marriage is a legal contract. Cohabitating couples do not have the rights and responsibilities established by marriage. There is no default law governing their rights in the event they break up. Cohabitants may still have some rights based on how property is titled. But there may be many more assets and financial arrangements that are not addressed. A cohabitation agreement is a contract between two people living together. It establishes their rights and responsibilities. It can be combined with other legal tools to ensure each parties’ rights are protected.
Getting Legal Help with Your Agreement
Postnuptial or prenuptial agreements are rarely romantic. But they can be extremely beneficial for your relationship in many ways. Schedule a Legal Clarity Session to explore whether a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement is right for you.
If you are facing divorce, we can also help you determine whether a previous agreement is enforceable or not.