Whether you are getting married, are currently married, or considering divorce, you may be wondering what you—or even a qualified family attorney—can do to protect your assets. While many couples do not wish to plan for the end of their marriage, it is often a smart precaution to make considering the number of marriages that end in divorce. A Gwinnett County marital agreements lawyer will help you understand the different types of marital agreements. Work with a capable family lawyer that could help you determine which marital agreement may work best for you.

Types of Marital Agreements

Certain property belonging to a married couple is presumed to be marital property. During the divorce process, this marital property is subject to division between the parties by the court unless specified otherwise in a marital agreement. There are three general types of marital agreements:

What Are Prenups and Postnups?

Prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements are both contracts between two parties that set out how assets will be divided at the end of the marriage. Both types of agreements may address division of property, allocation of debts, and spousal support. These agreements may not, however, address child custody or child support.

The major difference between prenuptial and postnuptial agreements is that a prenuptial agreement is signed prior to marriage and a postnuptial agreement is signed after the parties are married. Otherwise, both agreements generally cover the same ground, and Gwinnett County marital agreements attorneys could help potential clients draft theirs in the same fashion.

Separation Agreements

A marital separation agreement is a contract between married parties that is entered into when the parties decide to live apart, either to work on the marriage or in contemplation of divorce. Like prenuptial and postnuptial ones, marital separation agreement also addresses property division, allocation of debts, and spousal support. However, separation agreements will also address custody, parenting time, and child support if children are involved.

What Happens without a Marital Agreement?

Absent any type of marital agreement allocating the division of property, the court will apply the principles of equitable distribution. In equitable division states, such as Georgia, marital property is divided between the two parties.

Equitable division does not necessarily mean equal division. Instead, the court will look at several factors and divide marital property in a way it considers to be fair and just. Some of the factors the court can take into consideration when dividing marital property include:

  • The value of each party’s separate property
  • The earning capacity of each spouse
  • The age and overall health of each spouse
  • The amount each spouse contributed to the acquisition of marital property
  • Spousal maintenance ordered
  • Separate property versus marital property

Enforceability of Marital Agreements

No matter which type of marital agreement a couple chooses to enter into, it is important to make sure it is valid and enforceable. There are several steps couples can take to help further this goal. First, valid marital agreements must be in writing and signed by both parties. Also, they must disclose all assets and contain complete information regarding all matters the agreement will cover.

A court will be interested in ensuring there is no fraud and one party was not coerced into signing the agreement. As such, it is highly recommended that each party be represented by an experienced lawyer in Gwinnett County and that they endeavor to make the marital agreement as fair as possible to help ensure the court will find it reasonable.

Reaching Out to a Gwinnett County Marital Agreements Attorney

If you are considering a prenuptial, postnuptial, or a marital separation agreement, a Gwinnett County marital agreements lawyer may be able to help. Contact an attorney today to start exploring which type of agreement will meet your needs and what a marital agreement can do for you.

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