When a person in North Carolina hears the term “prenuptial agreement” they may immediately think of wealthy celebrities. So, does that mean that prenuptial agreements are only for the well-to-do or famous individuals? Not so. Young people entering their first marriage and those entering a second or subsequent marriage can also benefit from a prenup, even if they are not wealthy. What are the benefits of executing a prenup before walking down the aisle?
Protecting your separate assets
Some people, especially those going into a second marriage, have assets of their own that are worth a good deal of money such as a home, retirement accounts and savings accounts. Sometimes it is prudent to ensure that these assets remain separate property in the event of a divorce. If a couple in North Carolina divorces, their property will be divided based on “equitable distribution” meaning the assets will be split based on fairness even if this means one party is awarded more in the property distribution process than the other. Keeping certain assets separate means that they will not be included in the divisible estate.
Protecting your spouse from your debts
Maybe you are going to school and are relying on student loans to fund your education. Or perhaps you have a mortgage on a home that you are working on paying off. If you carry debt going into your marriage or if you anticipate taking on debt on your own while married, you may want to ensure your spouse will not be saddled with this debt if you divorce. In a prenup, you can designate certain debts as remaining separate debts that will be your responsibility only if you divorce.
What about alimony?
Alimony, also referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance, are payments a higher-earning spouse makes to the lower-earning spouse following a divorce. If you go into a marriage knowing you will make significantly more than your spouse or if you already know your spouse is going to stay out of the workforce altogether to care for the family, you may want to work out a fair amount of alimony in a prenup rather than wait to address the issue if you divorce when emotions are high.
Seek professional guidance
As this shows, the average person in North Carolina can have assets going into a marriage, debts incurred before and during marriage or may earn significantly more or less than their soon-to-be spouse. Any of these situations warrant considering executing a prenuptial agreement. You do not need to be wealthy or famous to benefit from a prenup. A prenup can help make sure your rights and your beloved’s rights are protected during the marriage and if the marriage ultimately ends in divorce.