What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

Although it may seem like an awkward talk to have with your future husband or wife, figuring out how your assets are to be divided in case of divorce or death may actually be a good idea.  Despite what most people believe, prenuptial agreements are becoming more and more common among all ages and income levels.

A prenuptial agreement is essentially a contract between future spouses made prior to marriage.  Prenuptial agreements must be in writing and signed by the future spouses before the couple is married, but the agreement won’t actually take effect (or be effective) until the couple get married. Couples may alter their prenuptial agreement later on, but all modifications must be in writing and signed by both spouses.

Although we all expect our marriages to last forever, it is always a good idea to be prepared.  A prenuptial agreement may help avoid conflict in the future and provide an early resolution to potential difficulties in splitting assets.  And working out an agreement when you are getting along with your significant other may be much easier than during a separation.

Requirements of an NC Prenup

The state of North Carolina follows the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) to establish requirements for prenuptial agreements.  Prenuptial agreements must be in writing and signed by the future spouses before the couple is married.  The agreement won’t actually take effect until the couple marries.  Couples may alter their prenuptial agreement later on, but all modifications must be in writing and signed by both spouses.

It is not required to have a North Carolina divorce lawyer to review your prenuptial agreement, but it is extremely important to do so.  Often times prenuptial agreements have legal language or terms of the trade that you may not understand (or may mean something completely different that what you think it should say).  There also may be considerable rights you are giving up and you should know your options with divorce before waiving your legal rights.

Both parties should provide a complete disclosure of their assets, debts, and income to each other, usually provided in a net worth statement.  Read more about net worth statements here.

Should I get a Prenup?

You may consider creating a prenup with your future spouse if:

  • You have children from a previous marriage and wish to save assets for them
  • You have significant assets or income that you would like to keep separate
  • You have an ownership interest in a business
  • You expect to receive an inheritance in the future
  • You are concerned about alimony or child support

If you would like to learn more about prenuptial agreements, call our office and schedule a consult with our experienced Raleigh Divorce Lawyer today.