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Addressing spousal support in a prenuptial agreement

More and more couples in Georgia have come to realize the value a well-drafted prenuptial agreement brings to a marriage. Such an agreement can take away a great deal of the conflict couples experience over the marriage's finances. In turn, less conflict means a happier, healthier relationship overall.

Of the many financial issues prenuptial agreements address, spousal support is the most overlooked. Many couples are not aware that they can use a prenup to outline spousal support obligations. For example, if one spouse sacrifices a career to stay at home with the children, he or she may qualify for alimony. However, with the proper wording, a prenuptial agreement may define limitations on spousal support -- as long as the limitations are fair.

One issue that comes up often in pre-marital consultations with a lawyer is the topic of waiving alimony in a prenup. Some states disallow waivers of alimony while others are more tolerant. Regardless of whether spousal support waivers are allowed or not, it is always unwise to give up your right to alimony.

For example, say you are already financially secure apart from your spouse when you get married and do not foresee a need for future spousal support. What happens if your investments crash or some other financial disaster depletes your separate assets? If divorce occurs in such a situation, you may come to regret having waived your right to spousal support.

Prenuptial agreements provide the most value when couples use them as tools to help define the financial roles they will assume upon marriage. Using prenups to leave a marriage with the lion's share of property defeats their purpose entirely. A good rule of thumb when addressing spousal support in a marital agreement is to ask your lawyer to help you draft the document in a way that is fair to all parties.

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