Spousal agreements are an important part of a legal partnership. At a basic level, spousal agreements are contractual obligations that outline how assets or child custody will be handled in the event that the spousal relationship dissolves.
Spousal agreements in North Carolina include prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, separation agreements, and reconciliation agreements. Having a spousal agreement in place before conflict arises can help your relationship remain civil during challenging situations down the road.
What Is a Marital Agreement?
Marital agreements encompass a variety of contractual agreements, including prenuptial and postnuptial contracts. These agreements outline the rights and responsibilities of the two individuals within the parameters of the marriage. This can include marital property division and division of other assets, your child custody arrangement, and alimony arrangements for the dependent spouse.
Prenuptial Agreements in North Carolina
Prenuptial agreements, also called premarital agreements, can be imperative to protecting your assets and rights at a later date. While it may be a difficult conversation to have with a partner before entering into a marriage, putting prenuptial agreements in place is an important part of your future financial planning. The prenuptial agreement is a contract that you both agree to prior to the marriage and that clearly outlines your agreement regarding rights and division of assets.
Who Should Consider a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is not only for celebrities or wealthy individuals. All soon-to-be married couples should consider a prenuptial agreement because it can make future divorce proceedings less challenging, thereby reducing legal fees. Outlining such an agreement in advance can also prevent hostile contention about division of assets during a divorce process.
While a prenuptial agreement is beneficial to everyone, it’s especially prudent for people who are entering into a second marriage or who have children from a previous relationship. A prenuptial agreement can protect your personal assets that you wish to reserve for your children and prevent your spouse-to-be from claiming inheritance meant for your offspring in the event of a divorce or your death.
Postnuptial Agreements in North Carolina
Postnuptial agreements aren’t as well known as prenuptial agreements. However, they handle many of the same issues between partners. The key difference is that while a prenuptial agreement is a contract that is signed before marriage, a postnuptial agreement is entered into when the spouses are already married.
To be legal in North Carolina, a postnuptial agreement should be in writing and must be signed and notarized by both spouses. Postnuptial agreements do not indicate that divorce is imminent; on the contrary, they can eliminate uncertainty surrounding asset ownership.
A separation agreement may be a precursor to a divorce. This type of agreement allows spouses to live separately from one another with a clear parenting arrangement that is legally binding, without officially entering into a divorce proceeding. Separation agreements can help co-parents keep the peace while they take time apart to re-evaluate the relationship.
Are Marital Agreements Enforceable?
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements in North Carolina are legal documents that are binding and enforceable by law, provided they are consistent with public policy. However, separation agreements in North Carolina are only legally enforceable if both spouses sign the agreement and the signatures are notarized. The agreement must not be signed prior to the separation for it to be legally enforced.
Is a Lawyer Needed for These Types of Agreements?
To ensure that your marital agreements are legally enforceable and in accordance with North Carolina’s laws, it’s always a good idea to involve a divorce attorney in the drafting and signing of this type of legal document. To avoid a conflict of interest, both spouses should have their own legal representation.
At Freedom Law | North Carolina, we can help you navigate the challenges of reaching marital agreements and offer peace of mind throughout the process. Contact us today to learn more and speak to an experienced family law attorney.
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