North Carolina Postnuptial Agreements
What is a Postnuptial Agreement and Who Needs One?
In North Carolina, husbands and wives — and couples contemplating marriage — can enter into contracts with each other to resolve claims to property and determine obligations of spousal support. Almost everyone has heard of the first two types of such contracts: prenuptial agreements and separation agreements. Prenuptial agreements are entered into before the parties marry, while separation agreements are entered into when married parties have separated in anticipation of a divorce. Many people, however, are unaware of the third type of contact: postnuptial agreements.
As with separation agreements, postnuptial agreements are binding contracts that are executed by and between married people. Unlike separation agreements, however, postnuptial agreements do not require that the married couple have the intent to live separate and apart forever. Postnuptial agreements may be drafted when one party, during the marriage, has inherited substantial assets or has otherwise come into a significant amount of wealth—and that spouse may want to pass on that inheritance to his or her children from a prior marriage. Postnuptial agreements may also allow the parties to protect one spouse from the liability of a significant debt incurred by the other spouse. Under these circumstances, a postnuptial agreement allows the parties to decide in advance how they will treat these assets or liabilities—and help avoid costly litigation in the event of a subsequent divorce.
Postnuptial agreements can also be useful for couples who are living separately but have not decided that they want to divorce. Recent changes to North Carolina law have made postnuptial agreements a more attractive option for many couples who are living apart, but have not ruled out the possibility that they may resume living together in the future.
Requirements for North Carolina Postnuptial Agreements
As with prenuptial agreements, parties to a postnuptial agreement in North Carolina must make full disclosure to each other regarding their financial situations. And, the terms of a postnuptial agreement cannot be against “public policy.” Because our laws do not provide clear rules as to what contract terms may violate public policy, it is important to work with an attorney experienced in drafting postnuptial agreements to avoid questionable contract terms that could result in protracted litigation and possibly render your postnuptial agreement void.
Help with Postnuptial Agreements in Charlotte and the Surrounding Areas
Finances are one of the primary sources of marital discord. For marriages confronted with a sudden or significant financial event, like an inheritance or a new business venture, the execution of a postnuptial agreement can clarify both husband and wife’s expectations and reduce the stresses on their relationship. For couples who are separated, but want to leave the door open to reconciliation, postnuptial agreements are similarly useful for providing a means to allow reconciliation while providing clarity as to each party’s finances in the event the reconciliation is not successful.
No matter the circumstances, the experienced and compassionate attorneys at Sodoma Law can help negotiate, draft, or review a postnuptial agreement that will meet the unique needs of your particular situation. We take pride in listening to our clients’ concerns and helping them explore options so they can make the best possible choices when entering into any agreement.
We work with families in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and throughout western North Carolina. We look forward to helping you arrive at a postnuptial agreement that works for you, and invite you to contact us.