Prenuptial agreements, or ‘prenups’, frequently get a bad rap. You notice your friends and family flinch when you tell them you and your partner are going to enter into a prenup before getting married. While prenups can be a touchy subject, and are too often deemed a sign of distrust, they should be seen as a valuable financial planning tool to protect you in the future.
A premarital agreement is a contract entered into by future spouses that identifies assets and debts and addresses the rights and obligations of each spouse as it pertains to those items in the case the marriage ends in divorce. In simpler terms, the prenup manages the division of assets at divorce. Prenups are often used by wealthy couples, but they are also beneficial for protecting future earnings and future wealth. Ultimately, the agreement is designed to keep the divorce process less expensive and less contentious for the couple.
Everyone’s financial and family situations are different when they come together as a couple. During the exciting time of dating and marriage, the thought of divorce may not be on your mind, but the reality is that nearly 40% of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce, and sorting through assets in the heat of a divorce can be overwhelming.
W. Woods Doster and his family lawyers have practiced law solely in North Carolina, and are trusted and respected in the Pittsboro and Sanford areas. Mr. Doster’s knowledge in legal matters is built on over 35 years of experience in local and state law.
Five Key Facts About North Carolina Prenuptial Agreements
When you are educated about prenups, you are better poised to create a prenup contract that works best for you and your spouse.
- North Carolina follows the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act (UPAA). Along with 26 other states, North Carolina follows UPAA as a way to standardize legal, binding requirements for prenuptial agreements. The agreement was established in 1983, and while it gives couples the flexibility to establish their own terms, it does include certain limitations.
- Prenuptial agreements become effective upon marriage. The terms of the prenuptial agreement become enforceable when the couple marries. An agreement may be deemed unenforceable if a party did not sign the agreement voluntarily or the terms are skewed unfairly.
- Agreements Can be Modified. Either party can request to revoke or to modify the previously enacted premarital agreement. However, the revision or revocation is only valid if signed and notarized by BOTH parties.
- Child custody or support cannot be terms. Neither child custody nor child support can be part of a marriage agreement. UPAA specifically states, “The right of a child to support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.”
- Prenuptial agreements are honored in all 50 U. S. states. All states recognize prenuptial agreements, however, the courts may interpret the terms differently.
Do I Need a Prenup?
Now that you know the facts, it is time to assess whether a prenup is right for you. Not every couple needs or wants a prenup, but if you are concerned about your financial future, you should discuss your options. Sit down with your partner and talk through different scenarios that could have a significant impact on your financial future. Some questions to consider include:
- How should we handle existing debt? Should it be shared by both partners?
- I want my house to stay in my name. Is my partner okay with not having ownership?
- What if I get a large inheritance from my father? Should I share it?
- How can I ensure my grown children from a previous marriage get my assets?
Any other concerns should be fleshed out, and any sticking points should be considered as terms for the prenuptial agreement. If discussions become contentious, remember that ensuring all financial issues are addressed prior to a lifelong commitment can actually strengthen the bond by revealing the full financial picture before it becomes a serious issue.
The best way to understand North Carolina’s prenup laws is to speak to a North Carolina prenup attorney. In nearly 35 years of legal practice, W. Woods Doster has helped many couples develop prenuptial agreements that meet both individual’s needs. Ease your anxiety by protecting your future.
Contact Us Today
The attorneys at the Law Offices of W. Woods Doster, P.A. have experience with prenuptial agreements and all types of family law matters. During your consultation we will identify some options and help you understand how we can protect your rights. Call us today at (919) 842-5007 or contact us through our website.
Trust. Experience. Respect. You can count on the Law Offices of W. Woods Doster, P.A. for helping you meet the legal requirements of prenups. We serve residents of Sanford and Pittsboro and throughout Lee, Chatham, Harnett, and Moore counties.