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Steis v. Steis

Supreme Court of Georgia

July 6, 2015

STEIS
v.
STEIS

Domestic relations. Forsyth Superior Court. Before Judge Smith.

Lawler Green Prinz, Nancy F. Lawler, Amy K. Sullivan; Schiff Hardin, Leah Ward Sears, Samuel D. Almon, Crystal L. Conway, for appellant.

Warner, Bates, McGough, McGinnis & Portnoy, Kathy L. Portnoy, Nancy I. Jordan, for appellee.

NAHMIAS, Justice. Thompson, C.J., Hines, P.J., Benham, Hunstein, Blackwell, JJ., and Judge Anne Elizabeth Barnes concur. Melton, J., not participating.

OPINION

Page 140

Nahmias, Justice.

Ronald G. Steis, M.D. (Husband) and Jane Leslie Steis (Wife) married in 2000 and are currently going through a divorce. Husband filed a motion for partial summary judgment seeking a ruling that certain property acquired during the marriage is his separate property under the terms of the parties' prenuptial agreement, and thus is not subject to equitable division. Specifically, Husband claimed as his separate property his salary from employment as an oncologist earned during the marriage and the parties' jointly titled bank accounts, investment accounts, and real property, all of which he asserts were acquired with his salary. The trial court denied Husband's motion, and we granted his application for an interlocutory appeal. We now affirm.

1.

Prior to the marriage, both parties worked for Atlanta Cancer Center, P.C. (ACC), Husband as an oncologist and Wife in an administrative capacity. Husband also owned a 9% interest in ACC.[1] On September

Page 141

14, 2000, two days before their wedding, the parties signed a lengthy prenuptial agreement, which the parties agree is valid and enforceable.

The agreement recited that both parties had been married before and already had children; acknowledged a disparity in their relative wealth; and said that they desired to retain all their current and future separate property free from any claim by the other spouse resulting from their upcoming marriage and any subsequent divorce. Paragraph 4 (a) (1) of the agreement said, " All Separate Property of each party shall remain the sole and exclusive property of such party and will not be subject to division or distribution upon divorce, legal separation or annulment." Paragraph 3 (b), entitled " Definition of Separate Property," said that for purposes of the prenuptial agreement, " Separate Property" shall mean as to each party:

• (i) all property owned by such party prior to the marriage, however acquired, and brought into the marriage, and any property received by either party at any time by inheritance, beque[st], or gift;

• (ii) all property which represents the proceeds (direct or indirect) of any sale, exchange, disposition, transfer, reinvestment or other transmutation of any property ...


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