Prenuptial agreements. You hear about them every time a Kardashian or some wealthy celebrity gets married, then divorced. Did Kim Kardashian have a “prenupt”, or is her ex going to walk away with half of her money? Contrary to the ideas that we’ve formed from television and the news, prenuptial agreements are not just for the super-wealthy. In fact, a prenuptial agreement may be a sound option for you.
Prenuptial agreements in North Carolina are contracts between couples entered into prior to marriage. These contracts attempt to resolve financial issues in the event that the marriage dissolves. The agreements must meet the requirements of specific statutes to be legally valid. The purposes of a prenuptial agreement are to:
- Create a legally binding contract that specifies assets as “separate property” that a person will retain if the marriage dissolves. Without the agreement, the assets could be subject to distribution of the marital estate.
- Designate assets obtained during the marriage as separate property, which would be marital assets without the agreement.
- Specify alimony payments and their duration upon a divorce.
- Protect each spouse’s assets from the risk of divorce. In other words, it is a risk management device.
- Save both partners money in legal fees as it significantly cuts down the amount of litigation in the event of a separation and divorce.
- Reduce the stress and emotional toll of engaging in the litigation process.
For couples in which both spouses have many complex assets, a prenuptial agreement can ensure that these assets remain with their original owner if the marriage ends. For couples with a great disparity in assets, an agreement protects the wealthier person from losing half of their assets and addresses the voices that say the marriage is a money-grab on the part of the less wealthy partner. Even if neither party has many assets at all, a prenup can outline the ideology that some people prescribe that what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours in the event of a divorce, including personal debt. Prenuptial agreements are also helpful in second marriage where the parties have children from former relationships.
If you fall into any of these categories, then a prenuptial agreement may be right for you. In addition, if you have been through an expensive divorce in the past, a prenuptial agreement may help you feel comfortable getting married again. However, know that the majority of married couples do not have prenuptial agreements. The choice is entirely between you and your future spouse. An attorney can fully advise you of your options.
If you are getting married and are interested in consulting about a prenuptial agreement, contact us. New Direction Family Law wants to help you feel secure in your impending marriage. We serve Wake, Johnston, Lee, Harnett, Cumberland, Nash, Granville, Franklin, and Durham counties. Call our team today at (919) 719-3470 for a consultation, or online at our website.