Getting Engaged: Premarital Agreements

Congratulations! This is (hopefully) one of the happiest times of your life and probably not a time you would think to call a lawyer. However, before you tie the knot, you should consider entering into a premarital agreement – otherwise known as a prenuptial agreement, or “prenup.” There is a common misconception that premarital agreements are only meant to protect one partner who has a lot of money or whose family has a lot of money or owns a business. While they can be helpful in such situations, we recommend premarital agreements to all couples planning to be wed. 

If you know anyone who has been through a divorce, you know that things can get ugly, and quickly. One way to avoid much of the hostility that comes with divorce is by having a well drafted premarital agreement setting forth the terms of unwinding your marriage. Unfortunately, about half of marriages will end in divorce and, while we certainly hope that yours does not, why not protect yourself and your spouse while you both still respect and love one another? Think of it as marriage insurance. Hopefully you will never need it but, if you do, it will make a huge difference. 

If you are considering entering into a premarital agreement, you should call an attorney well in advance of your wedding date, as there are many decisions that need to be made for such an agreement, and you should not sign it right before your wedding. There are also specific requirements in North Carolina for a premarital agreement to be valid and enforceable, so we do not recommend you try to draft one yourself. Some of these requirements relate to the content of the agreement itself and some relate to the circumstances surrounding the execution of the agreement. An experience family law attorney can walk you through these requirements and ensure that the agreement will be enforceable should you ever need it. 

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