….But was that a smart decision for someone worth $400 million??
A premarital agreement is an agreement that changes the rules that the law normally applies when a marriage ends in divorce or death. Do you need a premarital agreement? You must determine whether you need to change the rules that the court normally applies to these matters.
The previous post in this series considered whether you might want an agreement to change the rules that apply to division of property at divorce. This post will consider whether you might want an agreement to change the rules that govern support of a spouse, or the rules that govern division of property upon death.
Upon divorce, the law normally requires the wealthier spouse (the “supporting spouse”) to pay support (traditionally called “alimony”) to the less wealthy spouse (the “dependent spouse”). N.C. Gen. Stat. (“G.S.”) § 50-16.3A. Alimony is often not awarded after short marriages. After medium-length marriages, alimony is often limited in both amount and duration. After a long marriage, however, alimony can be a significant obligation, especially if the dependent spouse has been out of the workforce for many years.
If the parties would prefer not to be responsible for the support of one another, the duty to pay alimony can be waived in a premarital agreement. Id. § 52B-4(a)(4).
When the court divides property upon death, it does not divide the property into marital property and separate property. Instead, if the deceased spouse has no will, the surviving spouse simply receives a percentage of the deceased spouse’s property. The exact percentage varies according to the type of property involved, and according to whether the deceased spouse is survived by children and/or parents, but it is rarely less than one-third. The percentage applies to all of the deceased spouse’s property, not just to marital property. Id. § 29-14.