Atlanta Prenup Attorneys for Division of Real Property
When you’re planning to get married, you don’t want to plan for that marriage to end. But you must face the reality that 40 percent of all marriages today will end in divorce. If you are bringing assets into the marriage that you want to keep if the marriage ends, then you need a prenuptial agreement to protect them. Prenuptial agreements are useful for anyone who owns property or who has businesses or other assets before they get married.
At Kessler & Solomiany, LLC, our Atlanta prenuptial agreement attorneys can help you draft a prenuptial agreement that will protect any real property you own before marriage, and still let your new spouse share in any property you acquire during the marriage. Call our team today at (404) 688-8810 for a consultation on how to make a prenuptial agreement that will protect everyone’s interests.
Why Should I Have a Prenuptial Agreement?
In Georgia, marital property will be divided “equitably” in the event of a divorce. Equitable division is not the same as equal division. Rather than splitting everything down the middle 50/50, the court will likely assign one party a marital property and give the other party a marital property of similar value. That way, the properties don’t need to be sold and the proceeds divided.
A prenuptial agreement, or “prenup,” helps to spell out what property will be considered your separate property and what will be marital property in the event of a divorce. Because Georgia is an equitable distribution state, property acquired during the marriage or acquired before the marriage and transferred to or commingled with the property of the other spouse is considered marital property.
For instance, suppose you purchased a house before you were married. The mortgage is in your name. After you got married, you transferred the deed into both of your names and made payments from your joint checking account, although the mortgage remained in your name. In the event of a divorce, the house will be marital property, and subject to equitable division.
A prenuptial agreement can help avoid issues arising if a marriage fails by carefully spelling out who is entitled to what portion of property in a divorce, and what properties can and cannot be retitled. It may seem hard-hearted to plan in advance, but it is worse to try to do so during the emotional period of a divorce.
What Should Be in a Prenup?
Prenups are useful if you own real estate before marriage. Normally, premarital properties remain the separate property of the person who owns them, including any appreciation in value. However, if the appreciation in value is due to the efforts of either spouse during marriage, that appreciation becomes part of the marital property.
For instance, if you move into one of your separate properties and decide to remodel it, the house would remain yours, but the value of the improvements would become marital property. If you own an income property, the property and income would remain yours, but any increase in rental prices would be added to marital property.
These things will need to be included in your prenup if you want to avoid the value of the improvements or the increased rent being added into the marital property. It is possible to exclude the appreciation value from becoming part of the marital property, but it must be done specifically in writing.
Your prenuptial agreement can also award property to a spouse after the divorce, even if it is currently your separate property. The purpose of Georgia’s equitable distribution rule is to ensure that all parties receive an equivalent amount of money and property. If you would prefer, for instance, that your spouse receives a certain parcel of your separate property rather than sell a jointly owned piece of marital property, this can be determined in advance in a prenup.
Things to Know About a Prenup
You and your fiancée can draft a prenuptial agreement if you want, but it is best if you have legal assistance when you make your property division. There are legal requirements for what should be done to make a prenup valid. A prenup cannot:
- Be grossly unfair, illegal, or “absurd.” Your prenup may not, for instance, give one spouse the right to take everything in the event of a divorce, or let one spouse commit unlawful acts such as adultery or drug dealing.
- Hide assets or lie about finances. Both parties must be honest about their financial status. If one party conceals assets, debts, or properties, the prenup could be invalidated.
- Be coerced or forced. If one party claims they were duped or forced to sign a prenup under duress, the prenup can be invalidated. Georgia does not have a waiting period, unlike some states, but a prenup signed too close to the wedding date is suspect.
The most common reason for prenups being invalidated, however, is improper paperwork. A prenuptial agreement is a contract, and like any other contract, it must meet certain guidelines regarding how it is written and signed. Both parties should have their prenup reviewed by independent legal counsel to be sure that their interests are equally represented.
How We Can Help
The purpose of having a prenup is to avoid stress and extra work during a divorce. We all hope you will never need your prenup. If you ever do, you want it written in a way that means it can be incorporated into your divorce agreement without any further argument.
At Kessler & Solomiany, LLC, we have focused on family law for three decades, and we understand the difficult nature of dividing property before and after marriage. We know that you want to both protect your property and have a close and inclusive marriage. The ideal prenup will allow you to have both.
Our attorneys will work with you and your partner to protect your assets and make sure you understand everything that is being done with them, while at the same time ensuring that your marital assets will be fully available to you and your partner in the event the marriage does not survive. Contact Kessler & Solomiany, LLC at (404) 688-8810 if you think you need a prenuptial agreement and let us take a look at your assets and property. We will give you our opinion on your case today.