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Prenuptial Agreements in North Carolina

Some people assume it’s not romantic to anticipate the possibility that you and your spouse won’t stay together, but in truth nobody can predict the future. Often people’s feelings change as their lives change. Sometimes marriages are more difficult than anticipated at the beginning. It can be helpful for partners to discuss the possibility that their feelings will change, and hire an attorney to craft a prenuptial agreement. Forbes published an article reasoning that it can help to have a balanced conversation if your feelings change, while you have good feelings about your partner and want the best for him or her.

The magazine suggested that couples should consider a prenuptial agreement. Two big reasons people divorce are money and communication problems. Discussing and negotiating a prenuptial or premarital agreement can promote a healthy conversation about your financial situations. This allows both partners to go into the marriage with eyes open about finances, and in the end may stop a divorce from happening.


Prenuptial agreements are contracts that spouses enter before a marriage. The content of such agreements varies, but often would-be spouses agree on property division and spousal support during the divorce. Some people erroneously assume that prenuptial agreements are only for those who are famous or rich, but the Forbes article points out that every person has something of value that needs protection. A prenuptial agreement allows couples to determine what will happen to their property, inheritance, debt, and income. Generally, assets can be separated without premarital agreements, but it can help clarify matters to have one.


Issues addressed by a prenuptial agreement may include how assets should be divided upon divorce, allocation of debt, ownership of property upon divorce, amount of maintenance or alimony to be paid on divorce, obligations to create a will or trust to determine assets distribution on death. However, the prenuptial agreement can’t address how parental obligations will be allocated, parenting time or amount of child support. The child, not a parent, owns the right to receive child support. Additionally, parenting decisions are supposed to be based on the best interests of the child at the time a couple divorces.


In order to create a valid prenuptial agreement in North Carolina, the agreement needs to be in writing and executed before the marriage. It needs to be fair and reasonable and based on both parties fully disclosing their assets and liabilities. Sometimes, during the drafting of a premarital agreement, a couple may disagree about whether to create the agreement, what the terms should be, or how long a prenuptial agreement should last. It’s possible for a couple to include a sunset clauses that specifies a date on which the agreement will expire.


Spouses are able to amend or revoke prenuptial agreements after they are married. Courts can decide not to enforce a prenuptial agreement if they don’t meet legal requirements or signed under duress. When a spouse tries to enforce the agreement, it is possible that the other will claim she or he was pressured into the agreement. The court will not enforce an agreement that is unconscionable.


If you are concerned about drafting a prenuptial agreement it’s important to consult experienced divorce attorneys. Please contact the Woodruff Family Law Group at 336.272.9122 or via our online form.