North Carolina Prenuptial Agreements
Why Have a Prenuptial Agreement?
When many people hear the phrase, “prenuptial agreement,” they think it means planning for divorce. Prenuptial agreements certainly simplify certain aspects of divorce if it occurs, but its utility extends far beyond a divorce situation. When a couple enters marriage having discussed all of the financial and other issues addressed in a prenuptial agreement, it means they’ve already had the experience of sharing important personal information and planning for the future. They have a clear understanding of their situation and each other’s expectations. Having done this work prior to the wedding often sets the groundwork for a more successful marriage in the long term. Some North Carolina couples choose prenuptial agreements because they have substantial individual or family assets. Others wish to specify how debt and other financial issues will be handled in the marriage. Some people, entering a second marriage, want to avoid mistakes made in their first. Many couples just want to clarify their expectations and make sure they’re entering marriage on the same page about important issues.
North Carolina Prenuptial Agreement Law
While most people have prenuptial agreements prepared in order to deal with financial issues, by North Carolina law, a prenuptial agreement can address many topics, including:
- The rights and obligations of the parties with respect to any of their property
- The right to buy, sell, encumber, manage, or control property
- What will happen to the couple’s property upon separation, marital dissolution, death (to include estate planning), or any other event
- The modification or elimination of spousal support
- Estate planning in order to carry out the provisions of the agreement
- Ownership and disposition of the death benefit of a life insurance policy
- Any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, so long as the inclusion of that matter doesn’t violate public policy or a criminal law. (A prenuptial agreement cannot limit the right of a child to child support.)
A prenuptial agreement must be in writing, and signed by both parties. The agreement becomes effective at the time of the marriage. The parties may amend or revoke the agreement after marriage if they wish, but again, must do so in writing with both parties’ signature. In order for a North Carolina prenuptial agreement to be enforceable, both parties must enter the agreement voluntarily. Each party must voluntarily and fully disclose to the other information about their property and financial obligations, or must voluntarily waive such a disclosure in writing. If neither of these things has happened, and one party could not reasonably have known the relevant information, the agreement may not be enforceable.
Our Family Helping Your Family Plan for the Future
The best way to make certain that your prenuptial agreement covers all the issues important to you, and is likely to be enforced if you need it to be, is to have it drafted and reviewed by experienced Charlotte family law attorneys. In order to ensure fairness, it’s best for both bride and groom to be represented by their own attorneys. Ideally, the agreement will be prepared and signed well before the wedding to avoid the suggestion later that one party signed the agreement under duress. Sodoma Law, located in Charlotte, has years of experience drafting prenuptial agreements for individuals with both significant and complex assets and those with more modest estates. We get great satisfaction from helping our clients enter their marriages with peace of mind and the knowledge that they’re prepared for whatever the future brings. Sodoma Law drafts and reviews prenuptial agreements for clients in Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, and throughout western North Carolina. We look forward to helping you arrive at a prenuptial agreement that meets your needs, and invite you to contact us.