Family Formation Services
for Traditional and LGBT Families

PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS

The modern marriage brings with it a host of modern issues. As individuals wait to get married, they accumulate assets, businesses and debts that they may want to keep separate from their spouse-to-be. Even couples with fewer assets may want a prenuptial agreement that decides how the property will be divided and if spousal support will be awarded if they separate or divorce. A prenuptial agreement must be in writing.

Sometimes marriage happens before couples have a chance to hash out property and support issues. Love happens and you’ve put a ring on it!  Luckily it isn’t too late to reach an agreement on some of those issues. Post nuptial agreements are legal in NC although their scope is limited.

Prenuptial Agreements FAQ

Call: (919) 883-4900

Can one attorney represent both me and my future spouse in drafting our prenuptial agreement?

The attorneys at NicholsonPham will not represent you both. The rules of ethics for attorneys do not permit us to engage in joint representation where an unwaivable conflict of interest exists and we believe one does in this instance. If you want a prenuptial agreement, we recommend that each party have the opportunity to seek independent legal counsel so that both parties understand and voluntarily sign the agreement.

What are the types of things in a prenuptial agreement?

It all depends on the parties. Some clients are only concerned about one issue, for example a business owner whose business partners required her to sign a prenuptial agreement so that the business would never be considered a marital asset. Other clients have family money or property that their parents or grandparents want kept inside the family and not made part of the marital property. Other clients may want to discuss how property (including debt) will be distributed if the parties separate or what types of estate planning will be required.

The statute governing prenuptial agreements is broad and includes all matters that do not affect the rights of a child to support or that are not in violation of the law or public policy

How long will it take to draft a prenuptial agreement?

It depends on the complexity and the availability of the other party’s attorney. If the marriage date is coming soon, we recommend you call NicholsonPham immediately to begin the work. We are comfortable with deadlines and will work with you and your fiancé(e) to draft the appropriate agreement so that you can concentrate on the other details of beginning your new life together.

If I have a prenuptial agreement in another state is it valid in North Carolina?

Probably. We can review your out-of-state prenuptial agreement to make sure it satisfies the formalities of North Carolina’s rules. Most prenuptial agreements have a choice of law provision that decides what state’s law will apply if the parties later move to another state and have to go to court.

Do I have to have a prenuptial agreement?

No.

How does a post nuptial differ from a prenuptial agreement?

A postnuptial occurs after marriage and requires different formalities than a prenuptial agreement. Additionally, you are unable to waive spousal support in a postnuptial agreement.

Why might I consider getting a post nup if I didn’t get a prenup?

You may want a post nuptial agreement because some circumstances arise during your marriage that you did not foresee before your marriage and you have an agreement related to your finances that differs from what the law provides regarding distribution of assets.  For example, you inherit a substantial amount of money which you would like to use to purchase a beach home which you and your spouse will share during marriage but in the event of separation or divorce the home would remain your property and your spouse would not receive any equity in the property.