Ideally, marriage is a lifelong commitment. Often, though, couples understand the reality of changing circumstances and want to know with certainty what property rights they would have in the event of separation or divorce. If something were to go wrong between you and your spouse, which property would you keep and what would your spouse take? Would you be responsible for your spouse’s debt? Do you know how much alimony you would either pay or receive? All marriages end one of two ways either death or divorce. A prenuptial agreement can help you determine your family’s rights in the way that you and your spouse believe is fair.
A prenuptial agreement, or prenup, is a contract signed by two people before a marriage that determines their rights and obligations both during the marriage, and in the event of a divorce or death of one of the spouses. Although many people believe these types of agreements are only for the rich and famous, you don’t need to be a professional athlete or movie star to ask your spouse for a prenup. Actually, pre-nuptial agreements are becoming increasingly common among couples of all ages and income levels. By entering a pre-nuptial agreement, both parties to a marriage can have peace of mind, knowing exactly what would happen to their property and assets in the event of a divorce.
In North Carolina, pre-nuptial agreements are governed by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. Under the UPAA, matters that may be included in prenuptial agreements include: Rights and obligations in property, whenever and wherever acquired or located;
- Disposition of property upon separation, divorce, death, or another event;
- Modification or elimination of spousal support (i.e. alimony);
- Ownership rights in and disposition of death benefit from a life insurance policy;
- As well as any other matter, including personal rights and obligations, that are not in violation of public policy.
Because prenuptial agreements can cover various subject matters, in addition to what happens in the event of a divorce, it is important that you consult with an experienced family attorney before creating or signing such an agreement. Although you can find template prenups online, they often contain unnecessary clauses that could actually harm you if used incorrectly. The most expensive litigation sometimes occurs as a result of an ambiguously drafted document. At Conrad Trosch & Kemmy, our experienced team of lawyers has decades of experience in drafting and executing pre-nuptial agreements.