When it comes to marital contracts, prenuptial agreements get most of the attention. While they may be better known, postnuptial agreements are just as important.
When a couple does not have time to create a prenuptial agreement before their wedding, or when they have a change in circumstances in their marriage, they often create postnuptial contracts that protect their joint and separate property. If you are considering creating such an agreement with your spouse, a Suwanee postnuptial agreements lawyer can help. A dedicated family attorney can work to make sure that the agreement accurately represents your interests and is fair to you.
A postnuptial agreement is essentially the same as a prenuptial agreement, except that a married couple drafts it after the wedding rather than before. Under Georgia law, a postnuptial agreement must be in writing, witnessed by two people, and signed voluntarily by both parties.
A judge will generally uphold a valid postnuptial agreement and will only invalidate it for certain reasons. For instance, if the parties lied about their worth, hid assets, or were otherwise untruthful, a judge might refuse to enforce the contract. Additionally, postnuptial agreements could be invalidated if the parties’ financial status changed dramatically since the time it was signed.
Finally, a judge could decide not to uphold a postnuptial contract if it is unconscionable and would leave one party destitute. It can be challenging to convince a judge that a marital agreement is void due to unconscionability. In most circumstances, the judge in a case will honor the parties’ postnuptial agreement except in extreme situations.
Without a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, a married couple will split up all of their assets, debts, and income in an equitable manner during a divorce. There is no guarantee that either person will receive the property or assets that they want, and a judge is not required to split up the marital property evenly.
Marital property includes most things that a person owns during a marriage. Everything from a person’s retirement account, investment savings, individual bank accounts, and property owned in one person’s name alone is included and divided up as part of the marital estate during a divorce.
A postnuptial agreement can keep assets like retirement savings separate from the marital property so that a judge cannot give that asset to the other spouse. In the same way, a postnup can protect one spouse from taking on the debts of the other after the marriage ends.
Not every marriage ends in divorce. When a married person passes away, their spouse generally inherits most of their property. A postnuptial agreement can keep property separate so that a person’s children or heirs inherit rather than the spouse.
A postnuptial agreement can cover a wide array of financial topics. In addition to concerns such as alimony or spousal maintenance and the division of property, couples can include terms that require each other to maintain a health insurance or life insurance policy or to complete or update a will.
However, these contracts cannot determine issues of child custody or child support. It is against public policy in Georgia for parents to restrict child support, child custody, or visitation in a prenup or a postnuptial agreement. Parents will have to decide on these issues at the time of their divorce rather than before.
Finally, a judge will generally not enforce parts of a postnuptial agreement that govern each spouse’s behavior during marriage. These types of domestic concerns are usually not litigated in a divorce.
Marital contracts such as a postnuptial agreement can help create plans for the unexpected. If you or your spouse have assets or property that you want to protect, a Suwanee postnuptial agreements attorney may be able to help you create a contract that fits your family’s needs. Call today to get started.
Atlanta Divorce Law Group