Talk to a Georgia Family Law Attorney
Talk to a Georgia family law attorney before deciding whether you need a Columbus, Georgia prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to learn more about exactly what they are.
Community Property vs. Equitable Property in Georgia
In some states, all marital property is community property. In other words, the assumption that each spouse has an entitlement to 50% of marital property if a divorce occurs. Georgia is not a community property state. Georgia follows the equitable distribution rule. In short, marital property is not necessarily on an equal distribution to each spouse. Depending on the equities of each individual case, one party may receive a greater share of the marital property than the other.
A Columbus, Georgia judge will consider many factors when making a determination on the best way to divide marital property in a divorce case, which includes:
- The contributions of each party, financial and non-financial, to the marriage.
- The assets and liabilities of each party.
- The earning capacity of each party.
- The age, education, and health of each party.
- Whether there are minor children, and which spouse has the primary responsibility for their care.
- If either party was guilty of fault in the divorce.
- Whether either party has already taken, sold, or squandered marital property.
What is Marital Property in Georgia?
There are two types of property that may be covered in a prenuptial agreement. Separate property is a property that either spouse owned before the marriage, or inherited before or during the marriage. Marital property is property takes ownership of during the marriage. For instance, this may include a property title in the name of just one of the parties. One party’s 401k or pension may also be marital property. To clarify, though, this depends on the length of the marriage and the amount of contributions made before and during the marriage.
Purposes of a Prenuptial Agreement in Georgia
First, prenuptial agreements may be very useful when one or both parties come into the marriage with a lot of separate property. Second, the prenuptial agreement may list all items of separate property, to eliminate any confusion. Third, agreements may address what happens when separate property is sold during the marriage. They can stipulate how the profit from a sale of the property will be split up or how it will be spent to buy more property. Fourth, agreement control is what happens when one person owns a house prior to the marriage, and then the house sells. If another piece of property is bought with the proceeds, is that new property separate or marital property? In short, a prenuptial agreement can make it clear exactly what the parties want to happen in such a situation.
A prenuptial agreement is also common when one or both parties have children from prior relationships. Spouses may agree to give up their rights to their marital share of inheritance if either dies without a will in place. In some cases, a prenuptial agreement may even take precedence over a will. For example, both parties may have children from prior relationships. They both execute wills that leave their property to each other, with the children as heirs of the property equally after both spouses die. A prenuptial agreement can prevent one party from changing a will after the other party dies, and disinheriting his/her children.
When a Spouse Has to Support the Other Spouse’s Career
Sometimes, one spouse quits work or postpones an education in order to support the other spouse’s career. In these cases, a prenuptial agreement can make sure that the spouse is taken care of in the event of a divorce. The agreement can establish spousal support. Further, it will also indicate for how long, if the parties divorce.
A prenuptial agreement may not include any provisions for child custody, support, or visitation.
Challenging A Prenuptial Agreement in Georgia
A prenuptial agreement may have a declaration as invalid if:
- It is fundamentally unfair to one party.
- One party signs the agreement under duress.
- A party materially misrepresented important facts to induce the other party to sign.
- One party was underage at the time of signing.
- A party had a physical or mental disability that prevented him/her from understanding what they were signing.
What Is A Postnuptial Agreement in Georgia?
A postnuptial agreement is the same as a prenuptial agreement but parties sign it after marriage. Postnuptial agreements may be useful when circumstances have changed, such as:
- One party leaves the workforce to concentrate on homemaking and child care.
- One party uses separate property to help further the other party’s education, or to invest in a business.
- There is a significant change in the financial resources of either or both parties.
Talk To A Columbus, Georgia Family Law Attorney
You should always consult a Columbus, Georgia family law attorney if you want to prepare a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, or if your fiancé or spouse presents you with an agreement to sign. Never sign any agreement without being advised of the potential consequences, so call Moffitt Law, LLC today.