Pre-Nuptial Agreements are agreements written before the wedding in which the couple decide how a divorce will be resolved. It is a binding contract. It determines how, if the marriage is later dissolved, possessions and assets will be divided, how future incomes will be distributed and for how long, and other matters involving the control of assets, debts and future incomes.
A pre-nuptial agreement allows people to discuss many major issues that may arise during a marriage and during a divorce before the actual marriage.It gives both parties peace of mind in knowing what will happen should they divorce. The agreement lists all financial arrangements in the case of divorce so each spouse knows what to expect. Having this agreement can protect your separate property, support your estate plan, reduce conflicts, clarify agreements to spouses, and establish procedures and ground rules for deciding future matters. Parties to a prenuptial agreement can preserve property and financial assets that they own prior to marriage. If one spouse brings considerable debts to a marriage, a prenuptial agreement can be used to protect assets of the other spouse from being used to satisfy those debts incurred outside the marriage. If one party has children from a prior marriage, a prenuptial agreement can ensure that family heirlooms are kept out of the marital estate. By entering a premarital agreement, there is less to fight about upon a divorce, making the divorce proceeding far less expensive since the spouses wishes would be set forth in the agreement.
Parties should obtain independent legal advice from an attorney when drafting prenuptial agreements. Although legal counsel is not required by North Carolina Law, there is a much higher risk that a prenuptial agreement would not be valid or could end in litigation if the document is not properly drafted, and if parties do not have independent legal counsel. A prenuptial agreement must be consistent with state law or it could be overturned.