Ending a marriage can be painful, but understanding certain legal tools can help protect your family’s future as you move forward. Divorces with high-value assets can be contentious Making agreements before or after the wedding can ensure that your separate property is protected.
Understanding the benefits of prenuptial or postnuptial agreements is crucial to knowing when to use which to protect your future. The Gentry Law Firm, LLC, is ready to guide you to the best solution.
What Makes a High Asset Divorce Different?
Whenever there are high-value assets involved in a divorce in Georgia, there can be complex questions about how property should be distributed between the separating spouses. Georgia law says that separate property will stay with the spouse who owned it prior to the marriage, and that the marital property (or anything accrued during the marriage) will be split “equitably” between both parties.
That doesn’t necessarily mean everything will be divided down the middle, 50-50. Instead, the property will be fairly given to both parties. With high-asset divorces, you could have businesses, real estate, or other assets worth a lot of money.
Marriage agreements like prenups and postnuptial agreements can help determine which assets can be divided. An experienced family law attorney will be able to help walk you through the process.
How Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements Work
Marriage agreements are designed to define assets owned by the couple. They are drafted either before or after the wedding. Spouses could be on even footing, or one spouse could have more equity when they decide to create an agreement.
A prenup or postnup will define property as either separate or marital: separate property will be typically left out of the property division process. Filing a marriage agreement will allow you to ensure that you can keep your property in the case of a divorce.
They’ll also affect other aspects of a divorce, like spousal support, custody of children, and more.
How a Prenuptial Agreement Affects Divorce with High-Value Assets
A prenuptial agreement can be used to keep your separate property from being considered in a divorce. You may have business interests or property that you want to keep. A prenup will put the discussions you’ve had with your partner about keeping that separate property separate into writing.
This agreement should be done ahead of the marriage. Agreements like this typically cover the property gained before a marriage. For example, if you’re running a successful business, a prenuptial agreement can help ensure you can maintain control over its profits or associated assets.
Postnuptial Agreements and High-Value Divorce
As the name implies, postnuptial agreements are signed after a marriage. Not every state allows them, but they are recognized in Georgia, if they don’t interfere with any existing prenuptial agreements and are legally drafted. Some postnups can work with prenups, acting to modify their terms.
Postnuptial agreements are generally drafted to protect a couple’s finances from individual debts or expenses. So, if your ex has accumulated a large debt, a a postnuptial agreement can protect you from having to pay the debt after a divorce. Like marital property, debts are divided equitably in the divorce. An agreement can ensure that your ex’s debts will not affect your high-value assets.
Enforcing Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements in a Georgia Divorce
Both spouses need to hire an attorney to help ensure a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement does not unfairly benefit one spouse over the other. It’s less likely to be approved if a judge feels they are inequitable.Prenups and postnups may not be enforced during divorce proceedings, meaning your high-value assets could be considered during division of property, or you could be stuck with debts that your agreement deemed separate.
Valid marital agreements come into effect during divorce proceedings. They will affect division of property, establish the amount of child support or custody arrangements, and determine spousal support.
If your agreements cover these terms explicitly, a judge will review the terms before approving them. If a spouse feels an agreement was made unfairly or questions the validity of the agreement, they can argue against the terms in court.
High-Value Assets Affected By Marital Agreements
Your high-value assets should be protected by your marital agreements, either pre- or postnuptial. Your agreements can limit how much of a business, retirement account, or real estate your ex can claim in a divorce. Your agreements should discuss how much they can claim.
For instance, if your ex helped contribute to your business’s growth during your marriage, your prenuptial agreement might put conditions or limits on how much of the business they can claim in a divorce.
FAQs about High Asset Divorce and Nuptial Agreements
Can a Marriage Agreement Become Void?
Your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement must meet certain standards before it can be considered or enforced. The agreement must be written, signed before the marriage (or afterwards, if it’s postnuptial), and signed without coercion.
Both spouses must have read the agreement and had time to think it over. It must be a fair agreement, and both spouses need independent representatives; you cannot share the same lawyer. If a judge finds the agreement does not fit these standards, they may ignore it during divorce proceedings.
Can Divorce Grounds Affect Marital Agreements?
Grounds for divorce, or reasons to end a marriage, may have an impact on divorce proceedings. For instance, adultery has implications in Georgia that can cause the perpetrator to lose their right to certain post-divorce agreements. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can be challenging to uphold for the cheating spouse.
Why Do I need an attorney if I have a marital agreement?
You must ensure your marital agreement is fair, valid, and actually provides some protection for your family post-divorce. A marital agreement, whether it’s drafted before or after the nuptials, can be your best tool to protect your property, especially when you have high-value assets. A lawyer can review your finances, discover assets, and draft an agreement in language that’s fair and firm.
Call a Georgia High Asset Divorce Lawyer
Helping Georgia families has been the Gentry Law Firm’s goal since our inception. Our founding attorney William C. Gentry has made it his mission to ensure his clients are getting the help and care they need throughout their family law matters.
Divorce can be a difficult time. You don’t need to be the only one keeping track of the details of your divorce. You can rely on us to help you file the necessary paperwork and review any marital agreements that could affect the outcome of your case. We’re ready to hear your story. Call (770) 425-5573 or use our contact form to get started.