Can a Prenuptial Agreement be Amended?

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Prior to a marriage, some couples choose to enter into a prenuptial agreement. This is an agreement that can preemptively address matters like property division, the classification of present or future property or assets as separate (instead of marital) property, spousal support and alimony, how debt will be paid, and many others. These agreements are meant to provide certainty in case the couple separates or divorces, so that the spouses do not get caught up in long and expensive litigation if the marriage ends.

A prenuptial agreement is a contract that takes effect upon the couple’s marriage. Therefore, if it meets all of the technical requirements, the contract becomes legally enforceable, and if either spouse does not follow its provisions in the future, the other party can file a lawsuit for breach of contract. This means that one party cannot simply decide they no longer want to abide by terms of the agreement without consequence. However, life changes and so do people’s plans. Below are some examples of when a couple may want to revisit and modify their agreement.

  • If one or both spouses experience a significant change in wealth, employment, or property
  • If unforeseeable events occur, such as illness or disability of the spouse with the primary earning capacity, and the other spouse has to assume that role or the role of a caretaker.
  • If the couple has children, or they want to change their estate plans regarding children from prior relationships.
  • If the couple has been married for a long time and wants to revisit the spousal support element of the agreement.
  • If the couple simply changes their minds about the terms of their prenuptial agreement or about having one at all.

So what are a couple’s options if they want to change their prenuptial agreement? Is there flexibility or are they stuck?

Fortunately, like other types of contracts, prenuptial agreements can be amended or revoked by the parties. Specifically, the North Carolina General Statute Section 52B-6 states that “After marriage, a premarital agreement may be amended or revoked only by a written agreement signed by the parties.” This amended agreement does not require “consideration” (or an exchange of performance or a promise of performance by the parties) to be enforceable. This revocation or amended contract becomes effective immediately once signed by the parties.

Let New Direction Family Law Assist You

New Direction Family Law provides comprehensive legal assistance to clients interested in prenuptial agreements, separation agreements, temporary orders, property division, alimony, and child custody. We take a methodical, thorough approach to each client’s situation and always treat our clients with respect. With many years of family law experience, we want to give you the information you need to make smart decisions about your future with confidence. We serve clients in Wake, Johnston, Durham, and surrounding counties. Call New Direction Family Law at (919) 719-3470 to arrange a consultation or visit us online at our website.