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Premarital and Post-nuptial Agreements

Premarital Agreements

Creating a premarital 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 can protect those assets.


Post-Nuptial Agreements

A postnuptial agreement can protect the assets of one or both spouses, and it is signed after the parties are married. 

What is the difference between premarital agreements and post-nuptial agreements?

Premarital agreements are created before a couple’s wedding, and they may address the issue of alimony as well as protect the assets of the parties. Post-nuptial 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 post-nuptial agreement. 

Why would a couple choose to create a premarital agreement or post-nuptial 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 North Carolina, these contracts are useful tools to handle a variety of issues.

Are prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements unromantic?

It is a common question for 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 your fiancé a premarital agreement just before a wedding can cause problems and stress for both parties. Ideally, a premarital agreement would be prepared at least a few months before the wedding, which gives both parties a chance to review the terms and carefully consider the document.  Handling the financial and legal aspects of a premarital agreement ahead of time means the couple can focus on the romance and other enjoyable aspects of their relationship at the wedding. 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 Home page for more information.  If you wish to reach out to Heidi directly, please visit the Contact page.