By: Nancy Ghertner, Atlanta Family Lawyer
A new marriage agreement law (HB 190) was passed recently by the Georgia House of Representatives that now requires a prenup or postnup agreement to be in writing, signed by both parties, and attested to by a notary and at least one witness. Prior to the passage of this change in the law a prenup or postnup could be made verbally and still hold up in court.
I can help you craft a legally-binding document that protects your individual assets and ensures your financial directives (wills and probate) to children from a previous marriage stay intact.
How to Have a Healthy Prenup Conversation with Your Fiancé
You are in love and are planning to get married, but first you want a prenuptial agreement (Georgia prenup) in writing. The subject is an emotional one since it brings up the possibility of a divorce into the otherwise loving moments of wedding and honeymoon planning.
I would suggest you begin the conversation with your fiancé by saying something like, “Honey, let’s talk about a prenup.” Make it clear you are not expecting your marriage to end in divorce but instead you view a prenup the same as an insurance policy. No one expects to ever have to use it for an emergency, but it is nice to know it is there just in case.
Be clear about why you think a prenup is a good idea. Explain any life experience you had that leads you to believe you need this agreement before you get married. For example, you could say something like, “After my first marriage ended, I was financially disadvantaged for years and I just can’t go through that again.”
If You Didn’t Do a Prenup Before the Wedding, You Can Always Prepare a Postnup Now
A postnup covers the same marital decisions as a prenup. The only difference is a postnup can be prepared after you have been married. You may feel more comfortable talking about a postnup with your spouse after your relationship has grown stronger. I have worked for over 30 years with married couples who decided to get a postnup done for their own piece of mind. Once put in writing, signed by both spouses in front of a notary and one other witness (me), you can throw the document in a drawer and forget about it – go be happily married forever!
Allow for Changes in the Final Prenuptial or Postnuptial
As time passes and life events unfold (babies born, career changes, major health issues) there may be a need to change the terms of the agreement. Provide for this contingency in your original plan. You can also add a “sunset clause” provision whereby the agreement will expire on a certain date.
One area of family law that cannot be included in a prenup or postnup is child support and child custody. In case a divorce is inevitable after you have children, a family law judge will decide who the children live with, and which spouse will make support payments.
Marriage is both a social contract and a financial partnership. The more comfortable and secure you feel about your shared financial growth as a couple, the better the union.