Our Charlotte Family Lawyers Have Extensive Experience With Prenuptial Agreements
At Waple & Houk, PLLC, our Charlotte prenuptial agreement lawyers are skilled, experienced, and solutions-focused advocates for clients. We draft, negotiate, and review all types of premarital agreements. Our family law team will ensure that your best interests are protected by any agreement you sign. If you have any questions about prenups, we are here to help you find the best solution. Contact us today to arrange a fully confidential, no-obligation consultation.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement—or, as it is more often referred to, a “prenup”—is essentially a type of contract. It is entered into by a couple before they begin their marriage. The document outlines how property and assets will be managed if there is a divorce or a death. Indeed, prenups can address property rights, spousal support, and the division of assets.
Understanding the Benefits of a Prenup in Charlotte
Why would a couple sign a prenuptial agreement before getting married in Charlotte? Although not a preferred option for every situation, there are a number of benefits to putting a well-drafted prenup in place. Here are some of the most notable benefits of prenups:
- Clarity in Financial Matters: A prenup clearly lays out how money and assets will be handled in the event of a divorce. The legal clarity in key financial matters can help you prevent misunderstandings later.
- Protection of Individual Assets: If one person enters the marriage with significant assets, a prenup can ensure those remain individual property. A prenup can be particularly important for those who come into a marriage with a lot of property and/or those who have children from a previous relationship.
- Reduced Risk of Divorce Litigation: Although no person wants to think about divorce as they enter their marriage, the reality is that it is a risk. A properly drafted prenuptial agreement can reduce the likelihood of prolonged (expensive) litigation if divorce happens.
An Overview of North Carolina’s Prenup Laws
A prenuptial agreement can be legally enforceable in North Carolina. That being said, these agreements are not automatically enforceable. They will only be upheld by a court if certain standards are met. A flawed prenup can be rendered partially or wholly unenforceable. Here is an overview of North Carolina’s law for prenuptial agreements:
- A Prenup Must Be in Writing: While oral contracts can sometimes be enforced for certain business relationships in North Carolina, they are never valid for premarital agreements. The first rule of prenups is as important as it is simple: The prenup must be in writing. It cannot be a spoken promise or verbal agreement. Without a valid written contract, you do not have an enforceable prenuptial agreement in Charlotte, NC.
- A Prenup Must Be Signed After Full Disclosures: For a prenup to be valid, both future spouses must understand what they are signing—and that can only happen after full and fair disclosures are made. Both partners must be completely honest and open about their property and assets. In other words, each person must share information about their assets (savings, investments, real estate, etc) and their debts (loans, credit card debts, etc).
- A Prenup Must Be Fair and Reasonable: The prenup should be fair to both people. A prenuptial agreement that is deemed so unfair that it is unconscionable may not be enforceable in North Carolina. To be clear, this does not mean everything has to be split 50-50—far from it. Still, the agreement should be extremely unfair to one person. Otherwise, it risks being challenged in court in a divorce.
- A Prenup Cannot Have Involved Undue Pressure (Duress): Finally, both partners must sign the prenup willingly—without being forced or pressured. If one partner pressures the other to sign the prenup—or if there is a situation where someone feels like they have no choice but to sign—then the prenup might not be valid. For this reason, the best practice is that each party should consult with their own Charlotte, NC, prenup attorney before signing the agreement. If partners share an attorney, there is a higher risk that the prenuptial agreement could be rendered unenforceable by a North Carolina court in a dispute.
Three Mistakes to Avoiding When Negotiating and Drafting a Prenup
Too many people make mistakes when they are working towards a premarital agreement. If you are considering a prenup in Charlotte, it is crucial that you know how to negotiate a strong, well-drafted agreement that will be upheld by a North Carolina court if any dispute arises down the road. Here are some of the most common prenup-related mistakes to avoid:
- Rushing Through the Process: One of the biggest mistakes couples make is rushing the prenup process. Of course, it is understandable to feel eager to move past this step and focus on wedding plans—but a hurried prenup can lead to problems later. When you rush, you might not spend enough time discussing important details or fully understanding the agreement’s implications. Rushing can result in a prenup that does not accurately represent your wishes or address critical issues. Along the same lines, rushing could end up in a pre-marital dispute that leads to no prenup ever being signed at all. Take the time to thoroughly discuss and consider all aspects of your financial life together.
- Writing an Agreement Without a Lawyer: Some couples might try to save money by drafting a prenup on their own without seeking professional legal guidance and support. Doing so is not only risky, it is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make. Remember, prenuptial agreements are formal, strictly regulated legal documents. There are specific rules and laws that govern them. A Charlotte family law attorney can help ensure that the prenup follows all legal requirements and truly protects your interests.
- Putting Illegal Terms in the Prenup: Finally, it is crucial that your prenuptial agreement has valid legal terms. If a prenup does not include lawful terms, it could be partially or wholly rendered unenforceable. In North Carolina, there are legal limits to what can be agreed upon. For example, you cannot make decisions about child custody or child support in a prenup. These matters are decided by the court based on what’s best for the child. Whether you already have kids or you and your partner are considering kids in the future, you should never use a prenup to deal with any issues related to child custody, child visitation, or child support. If you have any specific questions about what should or should not be included within prenup, please do not hesitate to contact our Charlotte premarital agreement attorney for a completely confidential initial consultation.
We Also Help Clients With Postnuptial Agreements in North Carolina
Are you already married in Charlotte or elsewhere in Mecklenburg County? As you probably already know, it is too late to get a prenup. That type of agreement must be drafted and signed before you tie the knot. That being said, there are other options available.
You can use a similar agreement called a postnuptial agreement (postnup). Though less common, postnups achieve many of the same goals. A postnuptial agreement is a legal contract signed by a married couple that outlines how assets and finances will be managed and divided in the event of a divorce or death. It is similar to a prenup, but it is signed after a couple has already gotten married.
Not only does our family law team have experience with prenups, but we are also qualified to help clients with postnuptial agreements. Whether you are in the process of exploring, negotiating, drafting, or reviewing a postnup, our North Carolina family law firm is more than ready to help. If you have any questions or concerns about postnuptial agreements, contact an experienced Charlotte, NC, family law attorney for help.
How Our Charlotte Family Lawyers Can Help With Prenuptial Agreements
Prenuptial agreements are complicated. Although they may not be the right option for every couple that is preparing for marriage, they provide major benefits to many people who are tying the knot in North Carolina. At Waple & Houk, PLLC, we have extensive experience helping clients with the full range of prenuptial agreements. Our firm is proactive and solutions-focused. Among other things, our Charlotte prenup attorney is ready to:
- Conduct a comprehensive and confidential review of your case;
- Answer any questions that you have about prenups;
- Help you gather and prepare all relevant documents and records;
- Represent you in the negotiation of prenup terms with your future spouse; and
- Develop a legal approach designed to protect your rights and interests.
Call Our Charlotte Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers Today
At Waple & Houk, PLLC, our Charlotte prenuptial agreement attorney invests the time and resources to protect the rights and interests of our clients. Have questions about prenups? Our legal team is here to help. Contact us today to arrange your confidential case assessment. From our Charlotte law office, we draft, negotiate, and review prenuptial agreements throughout North Carolina.