When a couple marries, rights are created that continue after the marriage ends. A prenuptial agreement is a contract that is signed before the marriage takes place, in which the couple agrees to change some of the rights that would otherwise be created.
The laws regarding prenuptial agreements vary from state to state. Georgia recognizes the general validity of such agreements, but whether a prenuptial agreement is enforced is in the discretion of the court. Georgia has a three prong test for prenuptials:
- Was the agreement obtained through fraud, duress, mistake, misrepresentation or nondisclosure?
- Is the agreement unconscionable?
- Have facts and circumstances changed since the agreement was entered so as to make its enforcement unfair and unreasonable?
It is important that each of the parties be represented by an attorney, that the agreement be signed well in advance of the wedding, and that both parties fully disclose all their finances.
Prenuptial Agreements commonly provide that property owned before the marriage remains each party’s separate property, while assets accumulated through the efforts of the parties during marriage become marital property.
Most couples enter into marriage expecting that it will last a lifetime, but given the high percentage of marriages that end in divorce, prenuptial agreements provide important legal protection.