2020 Georgia Code
Title 19 - Domestic Relations
Chapter 3 - Marriage Generally
Article 3 - Antenuptial Agreements, Marriage Contracts, and Postnuptial Settlements
§ 19-3-62. (See Editor's notes.) Requirements and Construction of Antenuptial Agreements

Universal Citation: GA Code § 19-3-62 (2020)

An antenuptial agreement shall be in writing, signed by both parties who agree to be bound, and attested by at least two witnesses, one of whom shall be a notary public. Antenuptial agreements shall be liberally construed to carry into effect the intention of the parties, and no want of form or technical expression shall invalidate such agreements.

(Orig. Code 1863, § 1724; Code 1868, § 1765; Code 1873, § 1775; Code 1882, § 1775; Civil Code 1895, § 2480; Civil Code 1910, § 2999; Code 1933, § 53-401; Ga. L. 2018, p. 155, § 1-1/HB 190.)

The 2018 amendment, effective July 1, 2018, substituted the present provisions of this Code section for the former provisions, which read: "(a) As used in this article, the term 'marriage articles' means any antenuptial agreement between the parties to a marriage contemplating a future settlement upon one spouse. Marriage articles, whether by parol or in writing, may be executed and enforced by a court of equity at the instance of the spouse at any time during the life of the other spouse, so long as the rights of third persons, purchasers, or creditors, in good faith and without notice, are not affected thereby.

"(b) An agreement perfect in itself which needs no future conveyance to effect its purposes is an executed contract and does not come under the definition of marriage articles."

Cross references.

- Effect of marriage on debt created prior to ceremony, § 13-4-82.

For application of this statute in 2020, see Executive Order 04.09.20.01.

A listing of Executive Orders issued in 2020 can be found at https://gov.georgia.gov/executive-action/executive-orders/2020-executive-orders.

Law reviews.

- For article, "Parentage Prenups and Midnups," see 31 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 343 (2015). For annual survey on domestic relations, see 70 Mercer L. Rev. 81 (2018).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Equity has jurisdiction to set aside marriage settlements. Gefken v. Graef, 77 Ga. 340 (1886).

Husband cannot alter antenuptial agreement by postnuptial deed. Maxwell v. Hoppie, 70 Ga. 152 (1883).

Final and complete settlement.

- Prenuptial agreement between decedent husband and wife, wherein the wife agreed not to assert any claim on the husband's estate, constituted a final and complete settlement which the mother and sister of the decedent had standing to enforce. Sieg v. Sieg, 265 Ga. 384, 455 S.E.2d 830 (1995).

Requirement of attestation by two witnesses.

- In a divorce case in which a wife appealed the trial court's denial of the wife's motion for partial summary judgment on her claim that the antenuptial agreement was unenforceable, the antenuptial agreement was a marriage contract pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 19-3-62(b), and the agreement was unenforceable since the agreement had only been signed by one witness, and O.C.G.A. § 19-3-63 required that every marriage contract in writing, made in contemplation of marriage, must be attested by at least two witnesses. Sullivan v. Sullivan, 286 Ga. 53, 684 S.E.2d 861 (2009).

Trial court did not abuse discretion in setting aside agreement.

- Because the evidence supported a finding that one spouse failed to make a full and fair disclosure of assets, income, and liabilities to the other spouse prior to the execution of an antenuptial agreement, hiding specific facts of the spouse's true financial status, the trial court did not abuse the court's discretion in setting the agreement aside. Blige v. Blige, 283 Ga. 65, 656 S.E.2d 822 (2008).

Cited in Acree v. Acree, 201 Ga. 359, 40 S.E.2d 54 (1946); Reynolds v. Reynolds, 217 Ga. 234, 123 S.E.2d 115 (1961); Wilcox v. Wilcox, 225 Ga. 472, 169 S.E.2d 819 (1969).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 41 Am. Jur. 2d, Husband and Wife, §§ 81 et seq., 107, 108, 113, 123.

C.J.S.

- 41 C.J.S., Husband and Wife, §§ 58, 59, 93, 94, 111 et seq., 118, 119, 127, 136, 138, 140 et seq.

ALR.

- Applicability of succession tax law to antenuptial contract, 44 A.L.R. 1475.

Validity of postnuptial agreement releasing or waiving rights of surviving spouse on death of other spouse, 49 A.L.R. 116.

Agreement not in contemplation of divorce for release of wife's right to support as contrary to public policy, 50 A.L.R. 351; 120 A.L.R. 1334.

Rule regarding revocation of will by marriage as affected by antenuptial agreement or settlement, 92 A.L.R. 1010.

Spouse's right to take under other spouse's will as affected by antenuptial or postnuptial agreement or property settlement, 53 A.L.R.2d 475.

Declaratory judgment, during lifetime of spouses, as to construction of antenuptial agreement dealing with property rights of survivor, 80 A.L.R.2d 941.

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