Planning a Prenuptial Agreement in North Carolina

Asset Protection

Prenuptial agreements are designed to protect the property of one or both spouses in the event of a divorce or death. With recent changes to spouses’ elective shares in North Carolina, engaged couples have more complex legislation to review now. Executing a prenuptial agreement helps ensure assets are protected and that spouses are provided for in accordance with their mutual agreement . Here are a few points to consider in the early stages of prenup planning:

Emotion. Although premarital agreements are heavy with legalese defining property rights and financial matters, couples may become emotional when approaching the topic. The topic may cause one to doubt their partner’s intentions or the depth of their love. Consider that statistics show high rates of divorce.
Beneficiaries. Couples may have children from previous relationships or marriages. How will these children be provided for in the event of divorce or death? (Learn about estate planning for blended families.) Couples should also consider future children—both biological and adopted. Premarital agreements can provide specific instructions for custody arrangements, child support, and how assets may be distributed to children. Keep in mind, however, that the court will always have jurisdiction over matters of child custody and support.
Time. Prenuptial agreements can not only provide instructions for how to distribute assets upon dissolution of the marriage by divorce or death, but upon marriage as well. Premarital agreements become effective upon marriage. If a significant financial gap exists between two partners, a provision may be included that provides property or financial assets to a spouse upon marriage. Other options may involve a sliding scale dependent on the length of the marriage, or special conditions based on children born during the marriage.
Something married couples may consider if they decide to divorce is how and when to update their estate plan. Our estate planning attorneys in Chapel Hill review whether an estate plan should be revised before or after divorce here.
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