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Premarital and Post-nuptial Agreements

Premarital and Post-nuptial Agreements

Creating a premarital agreement or postnuptial agreement is an option for protecting the assets of a person who is entering into a marriage. If one party does not want those assets to become the property of the other party, then a premarital agreement or a post-nuptial agreement can protect those assets.

What is the difference between premarital agreements and postnuptial agreements?

Premarital agreements are created before a couple’s wedding, and they may address the issue of alimony. Postnuptial agreements are created after the couple has married, and in NC cannot determine issues of alimony. This means that even if you have decided to marry without a premarital agreement, it is not too late to create a document that protects your assets, but you cannot make determinations about alimony in a postnuptial agreement.

Why would a couple choose to create a premarital agreement or postnuptial agreement?

In many cases, one of the parties is entering into marriage for the second time, and wants to protect his or her assets for the benefit of the children from the first marriage. Sometimes, the issue really involves an intention to ensure the children from the first marriage inherit from that parent. In other cases, one party wants to have a premarital agreement in place to prevent a claim of alimony in the event of a divorce. These agreements can determine issues of inheritance rights gained through marriage and set limits on debt. In NC, these contracts are useful tools to handle a variety of issues.

Are prenuptial and postnuptial agreements unromantic?

It is a common question from people who are not sure such an agreement is right for them. Premarital agreements and postnuptial agreements are not unromantic and do not mean anyone is entering into a marriage with the intention of ending the marriage. Premarital agreements and postnuptial agreements probably are most useful for clients coming into a marriage with assets, or when one party has a lot of assets and the other party has few assets.

For premarital agreements, it is extremely important not to wait until just before the wedding to contact an attorney. Handing a spouse a premarital agreement just before a wedding can cause problems and stress for both parties. It is best to address this issue months before the wedding and have the document drafted well ahead of the wedding.

These agreements address legal and financial issues, so a couple can focus on the romance and other enjoyable aspects of their relationship without concern for legal or financial issues. If the parties have older children, these agreements can provide a way to preserve the inheritance rights of those children, which may make those children more accepting of the new spouse.

If you need assistance creating a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, Heidi Risser can help. Heidi has years of experience working with couples who want to protect their interests. If you would like to speak to her about creating your agreement, visit the Overview page for more information.