Prenuptial agreements are usually the last thing couples want to think about when planning a marriage. These agreements are typically thought of something reserved for the wealthy. However, a recent article by Ramishah Maruf with CNN looked at some practical scenarios where a prenuptial agreement may actually benefit the average person considering spending the rest of their life with someone. Divorce lawyers and financial planners are beginning to recommend prenuptial agreements as a way to clarify financial matters between couples and open up communication before wedding vows are exchanged. Studies show that the trend in requesting prenups is growing as well. In fact, 62% of divorce attorneys report seeing an increase in clients requesting a prenuptial agreement.
The purpose of the prenuptial agreement is to outline property rights and financial assets held by each person prior to the marriage. Additionally, the prenup also dictates how those assets are to be divided in the event of a separation. A valid prenuptial agreement will be controlling, even if it contradicts with state law. Although the purpose of the prenuptial agreement is to resolve possible disputes this document is reserved for pre-determination of financial matters, not child custody or support. Divorce attorneys surveyed recommend giving yourself enough of a window to complete the agreement as they can take some time, especially if matters are complex. 3 to 6 months is the recommended time frame.
There are several scenarios mentioned in the article that provide beneficial uses of prenuptial agreements for persons that are not considered wealthy. Attorneys regularly report working with couples that want to protect a business that they own or simply want finances outlined prior to the marriage. They are generally considered useful for couples that have an existing wealth imbalance or a possible one in the future. Clients considered to be in the middle class are increasingly seeking prenuptial agreements out of a fear of losing half of their assets or a specific asset, like a small business, should they get divorced. Georgia is a marital property state. This means that assets accumulated during the marriage are considered the property of both and will be equitably divided during a divorce. Assets acquired before the marriage and inherited assets are not generally considered marital property unless there has been commingling. In other words, a spouse can claim to have financially contributed or improved upon an asset acquired by the other spouse before the marriage. Additionally, a spouse can claim that inherited monies by the other spouse were commingled for a substantial period in a joint account. Either scenario would create an argument that the property may actually be subject to equitable division due to commingling. A prenuptial agreement could eliminate this potential conflict as well.
One of the most difficult discussions to have amongst couples is related to money. The discussion of whether to use a prenuptial agreement is further complicated by perceived notions that it symbolizes an expectation that the marriage will fail. Ultimately, whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you will depend on the relationship and views towards this document. Nonetheless, prenuptial agreements can be the most effective way to protect accumulated assets and build a life together with a new spouse. The Faucette Law Firm, LLC represents clients in all family law and divorce-related matters, including contested and uncontested divorce, legitimation, child support, child custody, spousal support, modifications and prenuptial agreements. Our law firm guides clients through the legal process to ensure that all of their rights are protected. If you are considering a prenuptial agreement contact our law firm today for a consultation.