Prenuptial Agreements Benefit All Couples in North Carolina

Summer is a great time to think about love and relationships; with both Pride celebrations and wedding season upon us, our attention often shifts to thoughts of marriage, commitment, and all kinds of summer loving. 

While planning your wedding, it can be hard to imagine a time in the future where your happily-ever-after might reach an ending, but sometimes, even solid marriages can turn sour. In those instances, it’s important to be prepared for the worst-case scenario with a prenuptial agreement.

Prenuptial Agreements Benefit All Couples in North Carolina

While all couples can benefit from having a prenuptial agreement in place, same-sex couples will find that there are added advantages for them to have one.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement – also known as a premarital agreement – is a written, legal contract created between a couple before marriage. The agreement outlines the ownership of assets and debts of each party of the marriage, as well as the rights and responsibilities of both partners, should the marriage end by death or divorce. If either partner has children from a previous relationship, the agreement allows protection for their assets, as well.

The prenuptial agreement will include a categorized list of the assets and debts of both partners, which could include:

  • Personal property of value (art, vehicles, jewelry, furniture, appliances, etc.)
  • Cash and bank accounts
  • Education and retirement funds
  • Investments (stocks, bonds, etc.)
  • Real estate and other property

The benefit of a prenuptial agreement for all couples

Despite common misconceptions, there does not need to be any negativity associated with having a prenuptial agreement. While skepticism has always been high surrounding prenuptial agreements, having one does not reflect whether you believe your marriage has the potential to last or whether there is distrust in your relationship. On the contrary, having the protection of a prenuptial agreement in place can take stress off your relationship and help your marriage start in a positive place. Prenuptial agreements also are not just for couples where one or both of the partners are wealthy or have children from a previous relationship whose interests they want to assure are taken care of in the event of a divorce. 

Having a prenup, however, will make divorce much simpler should you need to go through one. Most of the drama surrounding a divorce usually comes with the litigation to divide assets. North Carolina is an equitable distribution state, which means that the state will divide a couple’s marital assets equally in the case of a divorce unless a prior agreement is made. Marital assets include anything either spouse acquires during the marriage, even gifts and inheritances, as well as assets and property owned before entering into the marriage. 

Having a prenuptial agreement allows you to outline ownership of assets before entering into the marriage, as well as how you will divide assets that you acquire during the marriage. This will allow you to handle these issues now, while you’re calm and collected, rather than during the midst of litigation while your tempers are flaring and negative emotions are running high.

A prenuptial agreement can also establish how spousal support will be delved out after a divorce. This can be particularly helpful for same-sex couples whose relationships pre-date the legalization of same-sex marriage. In North Carolina, only the time period that you were legally married is factored into figuring out things like spousal support during a divorce, so if you lived as a committed couple before being able to legally marry and one partner stayed at home to either care for children or manage the household, they may get shorted when dividing assets and figuring out spousal support. Having a prenuptial agreement in place will honor the stay-at-home partner’s contribution to the relationship and protect their rights should the marriage end.

SeiferFlatow can help you create the right prenuptial agreement

Whether you’re in a same-sex relationship or an opposite-sex relationship, if you’re preparing to get married, it’s worth it to consider adding signing a prenuptial agreement to your wedding to-do list. As with any legally binding contract, it’s important to have an experienced attorney guide you through the process of creating a prenuptial agreement. The family law attorneys at SeiferFlatow have experience creating prenuptial agreements that are fair to and protect the rights of both parties in a marriage. Contact our office to speak to an attorney today so we can help you start your marriage with peace of mind.