No couple enters into a marriage with the expectation that it is going to end, but for some couples, the thought of this occurring can be full of anxiety. Whether they are entering the marriage with significantly more assets they wish to protect, or they just want to avoid a messy divorce should it come to that, some couples may choose to enter into a prenuptial agreement in Weddington, NC. These agreements seek to define how the rules governing their assets, property division, debts, and income should be handled in the event that the marriage dissolves.
The main purpose of these agreements is to protect what each individual in the couple brings into the marriage. Debts, earnings, and property gained during the marriage are often split equally, but couples may not bring the same equal value into the marriage. These agreements help protect spouses from debts incurred by the other either before the marriage, or if they agree, those incurred during the marriage as well. Often, these agreements will help define what spousal support may look like should the marriage dissolve.
There is a stigma with prenuptial agreements that one spouse does not trust the other or there is concern over the way one handles their finances as compared to the other. But those stigmas are not true in every case. Many couples enter into these agreements because they want to openly communicate and agree on what finances, child support, and even future planning may look like in the marriage. Couples who enter prenuptial agreements most commonly do so because:
Unfortunately, many couples do not consider prenuptial agreements as a part of their wedding planning process. However, openly communicating with your soon-to-be spouse can be healthy. While early on in the marriage, it may not feel as though there is much to protect because finances are at a minimum in terms of earnings, the dynamics of assets, debts, and acquired property will change over the course of the marriage. For many couples, these agreements are simply the “just in case” documents that can help provide valuable insight and quick settlements should the need for them ever arise.
Divorces are a difficult process and are filled with many emotions, stress, and anxiety. A prenuptial agreement can help simplify the process and eliminate many of these distressing parts of a divorce.
Not just anything can go into a prenuptial agreement in North Carolina, but it can offer many sound protections for you, your spouse, and your children. In a prenuptial agreement, you may:
Conversely, a prenuptial agreement cannot:
If your prenuptial agreement contains “cannot” stipulations, the entire agreement may be voided altogether. That is why it is important you discuss and reach these agreements with the help of knowledgeable and experienced family law attorneys.
Each circumstance is unique, and the fees associated with a prenuptial agreement can vary. However, the average cost to draft an agreement is around $860. Varying fees can include the attorney or attorneys that are involved, how much time needs to be spent on the agreement, and the complexity of what each spouse wishes to have included.
Prenups are designed to protect valuable assets and to establish the rules and procedures for a couple who faces a divorce. If you have significant assets, your partner has high debt, or one of you is bringing children from another marriage, you may wish to consider a prenuptial agreement. Your agreement should be finalized 30 days prior to marriage.
North Carolina does recognize prenuptial agreements. The law follows the guidelines of the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act which provides the requirements for such agreements. Any changes or modifications are also allowed but must be done in writing and signed by both parties. The agreement also does not take effect until the couple is officially married.
Working with an attorney, you will work through the prenuptial agreement with your soon to be spouse and their attorney. Both parties should seek separate counsel to avoid any conflicts of interest in the mediation process. The attorneys will then guide you through the process, fill out the necessary paperwork, draft the agreement, and make sure that both parties legally sign the documents.
If you and your soon-to-be spouse are considering a prenuptial agreement, seek the help of an attorney who can review the details of your relationship with you to help you decide if it is right for you. If you and your fiancé agree that it is something with which you wish to proceed, look at the process as a part of establishing a solid foundation on which to build. It requires communication, trust, and openness, all the fundamentals of a strong relationship. When you’re ready, contact the family law attorneys at Lehnhardt Price Family Law and let us help you start your marriage on the right foot.