Prenuptial Agreement FAQs in North Carolina

Prenuptial Agreement

What is a prenuptial agreement?

prenuptial agreement is a legal contract between two people who are planning to get married. The agreement lays out the rules that will apply to the couple’s property, debts, income and expenses in the unfortunate event that their marriage comes to an end.

A prenuptial agreement helps each person protect the property that he or she individually has coming into the marriage. So, for example, if one spouse has something of value before getting married and ends up selling it after a divorce, if there is no prenup in place, the profit may be considered joint marital property. On the other end of the spectrum, a prenuptial agreement can also protect spouses from each other’s debts, both those taken on before and during the marriage. The agreement may also outline what level of support one will receive from the other in the case of divorce or death.

If you are thinking about proposing a prenup agreement or have been asked to sign one, the knowledgeable attorneys at Charles R. Ullman & Associates can help answer all your questions and prepare an agreement that works for you. Contact us now.

Should I get a prenuptial agreement?

Getting a prenuptial agreement is a personal decision, and it in no way reflects on the sanctity of your upcoming marriage. There are many reasons to get a prenup in North Carolina. For example, you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement if:

  • You already have children.
  • You own a business or are part of a family business.
  • You have assets that you prefer to keep separate.
  • You are worried about your debt or your partner’s debt.
  • You are sacrificing a good job/career in order to get married.
  • You want to ensure that your estate plans, such as the assets you want to leave to your children, are honored after your death.

Not sure whether a prenup is right for you? Contact us today to discuss your options.

What if we don’t have any real assets? Are there still reasons to get a prenup?

Even if you don’t have significant assets now, as you build your lives together, your financial picture will change (and hopefully grow). When you are setting up a prenuptial agreement, you and your spouse will discuss all of your current assets, debts, needs, wants and thoughts about estate planning. This process of drafting a prenuptial agreement can help you address and reconcile differences you may have over finances before you get married. In short, the discussions that go into creating a prenup in North Carolina can help prevent the kind of surprises and financial disagreements that cause many divorces.

What can a prenuptial agreement include?

A prenuptial agreement in North Carolina can protect you and your spouse in a wide variety of ways. For example, it can:

  • Outline which assets are owned separately versus which are owned jointly.
  • Provide protection from debts if one spouse is carrying a heavy load.
  • Provide for children from previous relationships.
  • Define who will manage specific financial responsibilities during the marriage, such as taxes.
  • Make sure heirlooms, stakes in family businesses and other family property stay in the birth family.
  • Add to and protect estate plans.
  • Ease the process of equitable property distribution in the unfortunate case of a divorce.

What cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement?

In North Carolina, a prenuptial agreement has limits on what it can and cannot include, and the agreement can be found void if it includes prohibited material. For example, a prenuptial agreement cannot:

  • Determine child custody or child support issues in advance of a potential divorce.
  • Waive your right to alimony in case of a divorce.
  • Designate responsibilities for non-financial personal or household issues, such as chores or child-rearing decisions.
  • Offer an incentive (financial or otherwise) for divorce.
  • Require you or your spouse to do something illegal.

If you have been asked to sign a prenup and need guidance, contact the experienced attorneys at Charles R. Ullman & Associates to discuss the agreement and figure out what is in your best interests. Schedule a consultation today.

Do I need my own lawyer for a North Carolina prenuptial agreement?

Yes, one prenuptial agreement lawyer cannot represent the interests of both you and your spouse. In order for your prenuptial agreement to be valid:

  • It must be in writing and completed before the marriage.
  • It must be fair and reasonable, and both parties must have fully disclosed all assets and liabilities.
  • Each spouse should have his or her own prenuptial agreement lawyer to prepare and go over the agreement. Your attorney should answer any prenup questions you have before you sign the agreement.

Contact the experienced and sensitive prenuptial agreement attorneys at Charles R. Ullman & Associates today to discuss your situation and figure out what makes sense for you. Schedule a consultation today.

Can a prenuptial agreement expire?

That is up to you. How long the prenuptial agreement lasts can be defined in the terms of the agreement. For some people, the preference is for the prenuptial agreement to stand indefinitely. For others, a “sunset” clause can specify when a prenuptial agreement should expire or how it may phase out over time. For example, terms may change as your marriage hits the 10-year mark, the 15-year mark and the 20-year mark.

What if my spouse and I cannot agree on what should be in the prenup?

Your respective prenuptial agreement lawyers can help you work through the terms of the agreement and the issues that you disagree on. You may also choose to enlist the help of a mediator to work through delicate issues. In the end, the prenuptial agreement needs to be something you are comfortable with. Do not be pressured into signing something you don’t agree with.

If you need to talk to an experienced attorney about your prenuptial agreement, contact Charles R. Ullman & Associates today to schedule a consultation.

Can we do a prenuptial agreement after we’re married?

When you are preparing for your big day, discussing a prenuptial agreement may not be at the top of your to-do list. That’s completely understandable. You can also address financial issues in a “postnuptial” agreement, which is entered into after you get married.

If you need help crafting such an agreement, contact the postnuptial agreement attorneys at Charles R. Ullman & Associates today to schedule a consultation.

What are common issues that come up when enforcing a prenuptial agreement?

Unfortunately, when the time comes to enforce a prenuptial agreement, tensions are usually running high. Spouses may dispute a variety of things, including:

  • Whether he or she was pressured into the prenup.
  • Whether one of the provisions is invalid. (Note: A judge can choose to enforce part of an agreement even if another part is deemed invalid.)
  • Whether the information exchanged before the marriage was false or incomplete.
  • That each person did not have his or her own prenuptial agreement lawyer to look out for individual interests.
  • That the agreement (or a part of it) is “unconscionable” or grossly unfair, even if both spouses agreed to the terms.

If you are concerned about the validity of your prenuptial agreement, contact the experienced and knowledgeable prenuptial agreement lawyers at Charles R. Ullman & Associates today. We can review your agreement and determine the options for enforcement. Schedule a time to talk now.