Are Prenuptial Agreements Always Enforceable?
Although prenuptial agreements may have initially started as a practice to protect millionaires against a fraudulent spouse, in our complex and modern world this is no longer the case. The use of prenuptial agreements has become significantly more common among individuals with many different amounts of wealth.
This change is often associated with a number of different societal factors that have challenged previous views of marriage. Many individuals are marrying later in life when they have already built up their career and their wealth. Additionally, the rate of divorce is increasing across the country, making people think twice about the long-lasting bond of marriage. These two factors have contributed to many couples seeking a prenuptial agreement, in order to protect themselves, their children, and their livelihood in the event of divorce.
While on the surface, the use of a prenuptial agreement seems like a logical plan, there are a lot of elements of prenuptial agreements that are not as straight forward as they appear. Even though this is a contract that you and your future spouse are signing, many different factors can affect the validity of the agreement in the event of a divorce. It is important that you understand your rights in this agreement, specifically the events which may or may not allow you to enforce your prenuptial.
Whether you are newly engaged and considering signing a prenuptial agreement or you are questioning a previously signed prenuptial agreement in the face of divorce, it essential that you have qualified legal counsel to assist you in this process.
The team of lawyers at Kessler & Solomiany, LLC have worked with many individuals in Atlanta who are in the process of creating, enforcing, or invalidating a prenuptial agreement. We have the skills and experience in prenuptial agreement law that you need to protect your rights. To discuss the specifics of your case or to learn more about our attorneys, contact Kessler & Solomiany, LLC at (404) 688-8810 today.
Enforcing Prenuptial Agreements
The use and enforcement of prenuptial agreements is a topic that is surrounded by controversy. For many years, there was no national agreement on how to enforce a prenuptial agreement or what the terms of a valid agreement could include.
However, in 1983, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law developed a set of guidelines, called the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA), for states to follow. This act helped to make judgments and rulings about these agreements more similar across the United States. Although not all states have adopted this act as law, these guidelines have helped to shape the modern understanding of enforcement of a prenuptial agreement.
UPAA specifies that there are some situations in which an entire prenuptial agreement cannot be enforced, thereby making the contract invalid. An agreement may be unenforceable at the time of divorce if:
- The person who signed the agreement did not do so willingly, or if they were pressured to sign the document
- The individual did not have a lawyer or did not receive the necessary independent legal counseling
- The individual was not told which of their rights would be impacted a result of this agreement or did not sign an official waiver of rights
- The person signing the agreement was not given adequate information about the other signer’s assets, or they were told incorrect information about the other signer’s assets
- Enforcing the prenuptial agreement would cause one person to lose monetary childcare support, which would lead to excessive financial difficulties.
Any of these types of problems associated with a prenuptial agreement could invalidate the contract and make it difficult or impossible to enforce. Therefore, it is essential that you work with a lawyer when you are managing a prenuptial agreement. It may be difficult for you to determine if the terms of your contract are enforceable, but a skilled attorney with an in-depth knowledge of these laws will be able to do so. Seeking the help of an attorney is the only way to ensure that you have a legal and enforceable prenuptial agreement.
Prenuptial Agreements in Georgia
In the state of Georgia, the UPAA guidelines are used as standard practice for determining the enforceability of a prenuptial agreement. However, over the course of several court cases involving these agreements being decided, the Georgia state bar has made the laws for enforcement stricter than what UPAA provides.
Georgia’s view is that a prenuptial agreement should be viewed as being similar to a business contract. This means that the statements made in the contract should reduce ambiguity as much as possible and they should be objective.
In utilizing these stricter guidelines, George aims to remove discussions of “fairness” and “emotion” from the discussions about prenuptial contracts when they are being enforced. If you are entering into a prenuptial agreement or are attempting to enforce a prenuptial agreement in Georgia, it is essential that you have an attorney who is not only familiar with the national guidelines for these agreements, but is who is also knowledgeable of the standards that are specific to Georgia. This can make the difference between a valid or invalid prenuptial agreement, and can greatly impact your ability to protect your assets.
As with any legally-binding contract, it is essential that you fully understand your rights, the terms of your contract, and the validity of your contract. This is especially true with prenuptial agreements, which are used as a safety measure to protect you after a divorce.
Whether you and your fiancée want to create a prenuptial agreement or if you are in the middle of a divorce and need to enforce or invalidate your agreement, you need the legal support of a qualified lawyer.
Kessler & Solomiany, LLC understands the importance of prenuptial agreements, and we prepared to protect you and your livelihood from any potential harm. Contact us today at (404) 688-8810 to discuss your case with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.