Protect your future!  Consider a Georgia Prenuptial Agreement.

Georgia prenuptial agreements are enforceable, so it is imperative to have experienced legal counsel when you enter a Georgia prenuptial agreement.  Prenuptial agreements are sometimes called premarital agreements or antenuptial agreements, these terms all refer to the same thing.   The terms of your Georgia prenuptial agreement should be negotiated on a case-by-case basis and both sides need qualified attorneys to assist you.   The terms of your prenuptial agreement, as well as the process you follow in entering your prenuptial agreement, really do matter!

  • If you are seeking to protect your assets or income, you absolutely want your Georgia prenuptial agreement to be as “bullet proof” as possible.
  • If you are marrying someone with substantial assets or income and a prenuptial agreement is a condition of your marriage, you want to make sure that the terms of the Georgia prenuptial agreement are fair to you.

Sometimes both parties want a Georgia prenuptial agreement

Sometimes, both parties wish to enter a premarital  or prenuptial agreement spelling out your up-front understandings about assets and income following the marriage.

  • Couples with established careers and accumulated assets.
  • Couples where one party has already inherited assets or expects to inherit assets in the future.
  • Couples entering second (or third!) marriages, especially if children are involved.

It is wise for such individuals to seek experienced legal counsel prior to the marriage, to explore whether a prenuptial agreement can improve your situation.  There are likely  issues that neither party has considered.  Sometimes, even the conversation about a prenup reveals that the parties are not at all on the same page in their expectations of the marriage.  Not all lawyers will agree or give the same advice on issues surrounding prenuptial agreements.  Seek a second opinion if you (or family members) have concerns or unanswered questions.

Enforceability of Georgia prenuptial agreement – factors

Georgia courts consider three factors in determining whether to enforce a prenuptial agreement:

1 – Was the agreement obtained through fraud, duress or mistake, or through misrepresentation or nondisclosure of material facts?
2 – Is the agreement unconscionable?
3 – Have the facts and circumstances changed since the agreement was executed, so as to make its enforcement unfair and unreasonable?

At first glance, it might seem as though a significant increase in net worth or income during the marriage might make the prenuptial agreement unenforceable under factor number 3.  However, in late 2011 the Supreme Court of Georgia again ruled a Georgia prenuptial agreement enforceable, saying that the fact that the Husband’s net worth nearly doubled in twenty years was not unforeseeable.    Sides v. Sides, 290 Ga. 68 (Nov 7, 2011).

In the Sides case, Husband had a net worth of $4.2 million at the time of the marriage and Wife was a flight attendant who lived in a small apartment and drove a car leased in her father’s name.  During their almost twenty-year marriage, their net worth grew to about $8 million.  The prenuptial agreement stated that Wife would get much more if they were married more than twenty years, but Husband filed for divorce before the twenty year mark after their child left for college.  The prenuptial agreement was enforced by the Georgia Court, and sixty-two days before their twentieth anniversary, the Wife received her car and $250,000 payable in installments of $25,000 per year for ten years.   Needless to say, if there had been no prenuptial agreement, the Wife likely would have received much more in the divorce.

The Court considered that full financial disclosures were made prior to the parties entering the prenuptial agreement, both parties were represented by counsel, and Wife was well aware of the vast disparity in their incomes at the time she entered the prenuptial agreement.  The Court found that the Wife must have anticipated that Husband’s wealth would continue to grow over the ensuing years, so this was foreseeable.  As a result, there was no change in circumstance which would make the Georgia prenuptial agreement unfair and unenforceable.

Bottom Line – Georgia prenuptial agreements enforced

The bottom line is that Georgia prenuptial agreements are usually enforced if proper procedures are followed.  Contact Hindson & Melton LLC before you marry for advice or representation on your prenuptial agreement.  We can prepare your agreement, assist in negotiations with counsel for the other party, and address your questions, needs and concerns.
Karen S. Hindson - July 1, 2012