In Georgia, it’s not uncommon for couples to have a prenuptial agreement. After all, a prenup is a good way to keep financial assets separate, specify property ownership, and protect family businesses.
In most cases, these agreements are done properly and are considered legal documents. With both parties having their lawyers present, sometimes even having a judge present, everything goes according to plan.
That being said, there are also cases where things don’t go according to plan, as in, the agreement becomes invalid. And this is where we step in.
Here’s a list of factors you need to consider to steer clear of an invalid prenuptial agreement in Georgia.
1. When the Agreement Becomes Fraudulent
All of us are aware that a prenuptial agreement requires both parties to make full disclosure of their assets.
In some divorce cases, it’s become a norm for a partner to downplay their assets. There have also been cases where they don’t even disclose them, just to keep their assets from being part of the settlement agreement.
Sadly, this is also quite a common problem with prenuptial agreement in Georgia. If you can manage to prove that your partner hasn’t been honest about their assets or income at the time you signed the prenup, then you have a good chance of terminating the agreement.
2. Signed Under Duress or Through Coercion
Another reason that prenuptial agreements can be deemed invalid is if you’ve signed the agreement under duress or through coercion.
Different states have different standards for what it means to have been coerced into signing an agreement, meaning it can be difficult to prove that the person was actually coerced or forced to sign under duress.
The state of Georgia considers it a legit reason for the prenup to be invalid. If you can prove that you didn’t understand or have the mental capacity to register the conditions of the prenup, then you have a better chance to invalidate it.
For instance, let’s say you were under the influence or maybe even sick when you signed—that’s reason enough for the judge to consider it.
3. Improper Paperwork
As you are already aware, a legal contract of any kind should have the proper paperwork. That means whoever drew it up has checked it for errors and made sure nothing is wrong with it.
The same applies to prenuptial agreements. If you find that your agreement is poorly drafted and has errors, then it can be considered invalid.
Mistakes such as not filing the proper paperwork, not having it notarized, or not filling out the information correctly are some of the ways a prenup can be deemed legally void.
4. Signed Without Legal Representation Present
Both participants in a prenuptial agreement must have it checked out by their individual lawyers. In fact, in some states, this is a legal requirement.
For example, if you sign something your partner and their family have drawn up for you without a lawyer, chances are the agreement isn’t exactly airtight.
Seeing as how there’s a possibility that they might want a divorce, years down the line, it’s always a good idea to have your lawyer check it out and see if there are any discrepancies.
When They Don’t Have a Lawyer Present
If for some reason your partner doesn’t want to have legal representation, in the state of Georgia, the attorney who has drawn up the agreement is only allowed to give legal advice to one partner only.
The partner without their legal representation will have to sign a statement that they’re entering the agreement willingly. So not only does each participant have to have their own legal representation, but they must also be compensated and retained separately as well.
5. If the Agreement Contains Irrelevant Conditions
It’s safe to say that divorce court judges are not that interested in the peculiarities of individual prenuptial agreements. But there are factors that might catch their attention and force them to take a closer look.
For example, if your prenup contains no criteria for child support, then you can be sure the agreement will be void. Conditions or provisions in the prenuptial agreement such as visits from in-laws, hair color, and the frequency of sexual relations one has had are less likely to hold up in court.
Remember, these judges have heard everything you can possibly think of, so there’s a chance they’ll be able to catch these types of conditions quickly and consider the agreement void.
To summarize, in Georgia for a prenuptial agreement to be valid both parties need to have their own attorneys. As well as separate attorneys, a prenup should also be:
- Prenuptial agreements have to be written. There’s no such thing as an oral prenup, and it’s not valid in any court of law.
- A prenup also has to be made with both parties’ consent and an agreement signed just days before the wedding won’t be considered valid either.
- The agreement must also be made with full disclosure of both participants’ assets and liabilities. If one of them hides something, then there’s a chance the prenup will be voided.
- Fair and reasonable. Prenuptial agreements that are made with unreasonable and unethical conditions—such as one participant getting a bigger amount than the other—can cause it to be an invalid agreement.
- Signed and witnessed by lawyers or a notary. Lawyers can also recommend having a judge present to witness the signing to make sure nobody was pressured or coerced into doing anything they aren’t comfortable with.
- Written and recorded in a format that’s deemed legal, much like a real estate deed.
In conclusion, we’d like to say that if you’re trying to get out of an invalid prenuptial agreement in Georgia – that is unfair to you, or if you’re planning to sign one and want to know what conditions can make it invalid, we hope the list we provided helps clear out some confusion.
We cannot stress how crucial it is to consult with professionals first before you decide to put your signature on anything, especially something like this. There are people who can help you navigate these confusing proceedings so your future will be secure.