Although they have a reputation as being only for the wealthy, premarital agreements are useful to those of all incomes. They are especially popular for those entering second marriages and those who would like to preserve property for their children born during their first marriage.
In North Carolina, prenuptial agreements are governed by the North Carolina Premarital Agreement Act. Under the act, a premarital agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties in order to be valid. Additionally, this type of agreement may be amended or canceled after the marriage has occurred, provided that this is done in writing.
What issues can premarital agreements address?
Under the law, premarital agreements can be tailored to address a wide variety of situations. Some of these issues include:
· Spousal support: Both parties to the marriage can decide ahead of time how spousal support should be handled in the event of a divorce. Parties may even elect to waive their rights to receive spousal support at all.
· Division of assets: Premarital agreements can also address the issue of property division in the event of a divorce. Instead of relying on the "default" equitable distribution rules that the law provides, parties may reach their own agreement on this issue that they think is fair. For example, having an agreement can ensure that each spouse keeps all of his or her separate property owned before the marriage occurred.
· Debts: Premarital agreements are also useful in deciding how debts are to be handled during the marriage. Additionally, it can map out the responsibilities of each spouse for the debts incurred.
Speak to an attorney
These are just a sample of the issues that can be addressed in a prenuptial agreement. To learn more about your options, contact an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can listen to your situation and work to ensure that your wishes are enforceable under the law.