If you’re getting married, congratulations! Now, let’s talk about why you (both) need a premarital agreement (“a prenup”).
If you haven’t noticed this already, you will soon enough. You and your fiancé(e) may love each other deeply. You may have a lot in common. You may have a shared vision for your future.
But …. you’re not going to agree on everything. You’re not going to see everything the same way. That’s the truth.
What does that have to do with premarital agreements?
You might not agree about how much to save each month. You might not be on the same page about who should inherit your property. You might have very different ideas about what would be fair if you broke up.
How do you find out? You talk about it. If you disagree, you negotiate.
In our experience, the process of negotiating a premarital agreement is a very good way of finding out the answers to your financial questions about each other. It can be illuminating.
It’s also a discussion you ought to be having anyway.
Premarital agreements aren’t just about protecting a rich spouse in a divorce
When many people think of premarital agreements, they often think of those they’ve heard about in the media. That leads to some confusion because we usually learn about those in the course of a divorce.
Although a premarital agreement can and should spell out your expectations in the event of a divorce, it is not just about divorce.
A good premarital agreement can provide some transparency and certainty in your financial relationship. This can reduce any anxiety you may have about getting married.
A premarital agreement can be a great place for a young couple to write down their financial commitments to each other and their understanding of what each party owes the other in a financial sense.
A premarital agreement can’t cover everything in your life. For instance, premarital agreements can’t legally cover child custody or support arrangements. North Carolina’s Uniform Premarital Agreement Act allows you to make whatever other arrangements you like, however, as long as what you’re doing doesn’t violate state law or public policy.
What else should we know?
There are issues that can make your premarital agreement invalid. For example, if only one of you has an attorney, the agreement might be invalid. This is especially true if the agreement is entirely one-sided, your fiancé(e) didn’t agree voluntarily or the agreement was signed under duress, such as in the days immediately leading up to your wedding. The courts also reserve the right not to enforce a premarital agreement they consider “unconscionable.” It is best to have a premarital agreement done as soon as possible to give your future spouse time to read over it and consult their own attorney if they desire to do so. You should also make sure that you have made a full disclosure of all assets that you are bringing in to the marriage that you wish to protect in order to avoid problems later on.
Sit down with an experienced, compassionate attorney who will go the extra mile to help. Get started today.