We get it. Premarital Agreements are not romantic. No one enters a marriage thinking that it will fail. Some couples stay together because they know a divorce will be messy. Premarital Agreements are extremely useful and often save a lot of headache, heartache, and money if a marriage does end in divorce. Sometimes they are referred to as “Prenuptial Agreements.” There are a number of scenarios when a premarital or prenuptial agreement should be considered, especially if you have assets and children from a previous marriage or relationship. In North Carolina, your spouse has certain rights to your property, including your real estate, just by virtue of being married to you. A premarital agreement can protect the rights of your children and prevent your new spouse from fighting with your children over your property when you die. Provisions of premarital agreements can be really straightforward — both parties can agree to only receive the assets each brought to the marriage if the marriage ends in divorce and each spouse can waive any interest in the property of the other spouse unless provided for by will. Provisions can also be complex in that you can enumerate specific divisions under different circumstances – for instance, the percentage of a spouse’s right to an asset can increase over time, based on the specific length of the marriage.
A premarital agreement is a way to set expectations in case something goes wrong — think of it almost like an insurance policy. Hopefully, you will never need to use it. Even if one party hires an attorney to draft the agreement, the other party should be given the option of hiring an attorney to review it. Although these agreements are helpful under the right circumstances, you should never sign a premarital agreement without understanding the full legal consequences. You may be signing away rights that you later regret. Divorce litigation is expensive, but, with the proper planning both you and your spouse can prevent a long court battle over assets and keep your hard-earned funds in your bank account.
If you have questions or concerns relating to the topic of this article or any other divorce related legal issue, please reach out to us at 704-243-9693 or at www.coxlawfirm.com.