Once again, Hollywood has been hit with another devastating breakup rumor. Although not yet confirmed, many sources report that George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin are in the process of calling it quits. Many sources say that Clooney is upset because he may have to pay around $500 million to Alamuddin if they follow through with a divorce. The $500 million is essentially a distributive award since the couple did not sign a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot. Many couples in North Carolina sign prenuptial agreements before marrying to delineate how to handle specific assets should the marriage fail. If it is your intention to enter into a prenuptial or premarital agreement, you should keep the following in mind.
In North Carolina, a prenuptial agreement (hereinafter “prenup”) is a contract entered into by two people before marriage. The prenup addresses the spouses’ rights and obligations should the marriage fail and, more specifically, often addresses the division of specific assets in the case of a split. For a prenup to be considered valid in North Carolina, it must be in writing and signed by both parties before marriage. The terms of the prenup then become effective following the marriage of the parties. As with other contracts, parties can amend or revoke a prenup after it becomes effective; however, the parties can only amend or revoke by a written agreement also signed by both parties.
A prenup can contain many provisions, and the following are examples of what parties to a prenup can consider, including:
- Spousal support;
- Property rights, duties, management, and control;
- Estate planning actions; and
- Ownership and/or disposition of death benefits from life insurance policies.
Although prenups may include a wide array of provisions, North Carolina law specifically prohibits a prenup from adversely affecting a child’s right to support from either party. Additionally, suppose a prenup addresses spousal support. In that case, North Carolina law also prohibits such terms from limiting spousal support to the point that the dependent spouse would be eligible for public assistance upon separation and dissolution of the marriage.
Certain prenups can be unenforceable if either spouse can prove that it was not entered into voluntarily or that the prenup was “unconscionable” when executed. To prove unconscionability, one party must show that the other party did not provide full and fair disclosure of assets and that such disclosure was not expressly and voluntarily waived in writing, and therefore the party did not have, nor could have reasonably ascertained, adequate knowledge of the other party’s assets, financial liabilities, and property.
Prenups can be as straightforward or as complex as the parties entering the prenup desire. Regardless, it is vital that both parties voluntarily agree to enter the prenup and full disclosure of assets takes place beforehand. If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, give Woodruff Family Law Group a call today to schedule your initial consultation.