As a Raleigh Family Law Attorney, I have found that clients are often curious about what types of agreements they can enter into with their spouses or future spouses. There are three main types of contracts/agreements made by spouses or future spouses under North Carolina Family Law: Premarital Agreements, Postnuptial Agreements, and Separation and Property Settlement Agreements.
A Premarital Agreement (also known as a “Prenuptial” agreement or a “Prenup”) is a type of contract between two people that is signed in anticipation of marriage and becomes effective upon marriage. Premarital Agreements must be in writing and signed by both parties.
A Premarital Agreement can be a touchy subject because it may cause feelings of distrust and negativity between future spouses. Although the thought of a marriage ending before it even begins is unpleasant, the purpose behind a Premarital Agreement is similar to having an insurance policy: we pay for insurance because we want protection in the event something bad does happen, not because we are certain that it will. For example, a couple can agree to specific property division terms in a Premarital Agreement, so that in the event of a divorce later on down the road, each party will know which assets he or she may keep for himself or herself or which assets will be divided and in what manner. In sum: Premarital Agreements help couples enter into a marriage on their own terms and avoid some of the consequences of family laws, trust laws, and estate laws.
A Postnuptial Agreement is a contract spouses enter into after they are already married and wish to identify certain assets as separate and others as marital. A married couple can release or dispose of rights that have already been established under the law due to their married status, and as a result of this, Postnuptial Agreements are highly scrutinized by judges in the event of a dispute arising out of the Agreement. Some terms cannot be included in Postnuptial Agreements. For example, a party cannot waive his or her right to receive spousal support through a Postnuptial Agreement. Postnuptial Agreements between spouses are valid if they do not contain terms that are against public policy and they are signed willingly by both parties before a certifying officer such as a notary.
Separation & Property Settlement Agreements
A Separation and Property Settlement Agreement is a type of contract that spouses enter into when they have already separated or intend to separate once the agreement is signed. It is a contract that can contain provisions regarding the couple’s separation, and can include a range of subjects such as property settlement, alimony, child custody, and child support. Spouses sign Separation and Property Settlement Agreements so that they can avoid the expensive, time-consuming, stressful, and uncertain judicial process in Family Court. In the state of North Carolina, a Separation and Property Settlement Agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties.
Contact an Experienced Raleigh Marital Agreement Attorney
Marital contracts must be skillfully drafted and properly executed in order to be effective. It is important that you seek the advice of a knowledgeable Raleigh Family Law Attorney if you are interested in entering into a Prenuptial Agreement, Postnuptial Agreement, or a Separation and Property Settlement Agreement. Call The Doyle Law Group, P.A. at (919) 301-8843 to set up an appointment to speak with one of our attorneys.
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