Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: ” If I remarry, can they look at my new spouse’s income?”
Making the decision to get married is an exciting time for any couple. It is common for couples to not want to temper that excitement by bringing up the subject of money, property, and what belongs to whom in the event of a divorce. Premarital agreements, more commonly referred to as prenuptial agreements, can help couples plan for the future and actually bring more security into a marriage. Consider it this way. Marriage is already a contract. Having a premarital agreement simply gives the couple more control over that contract than the courts.
When drafting a premarital agreement, it is important for the couple to understand the ins and outs of these legal documents. This will help ensure the premarital agreement is suitable and fair to both parties, and that it is enforced by the courts should the time ever come.
Understand What a North Carolina Premarital Agreement Covers
Many people dive into making a premarital agreement with the misconception that it will protect everything they had before marriage, but this is not necessarily the case. Generally speaking, any divorce in North Carolina will follow state law on property division. This means that marital assets are divided equitably among the couple.
In the event of divorce, spouses can only keep what is considered separate property, or property or assets they brought into the marriage, though it is possible to protect assets obtained jointly by the couple by declaring what property is considered separate in a prenuptial agreement.
In North Carolina, a judge may also order one spouse to pay spousal support. A prenuptial agreement can also eliminate this requirement altogether. A prenup will not protect child support or contractual obligations deemed unconscionable, or unfair, by a judge.
Do Not Wait to Draft a Premarital Agreement at the Last Minute
There are many factors to take into consideration when drafting a premarital agreement. A couple can usually discuss these factors calmly and rationally, but that is not likely to happen if there is a ticking clock on when the agreement is drafted.
In addition, state courts will take the issue of duress into consideration when analyzing a premarital agreement. If it is found that one side forced another to sign on the day of the wedding, or another time that did not allow for proper research, the courts may find the entire agreement unenforceable. In this scenario, it is as though a couple does not have a premarital agreement at all.
Hire Separate Lawyers
One of the most exciting things about an upcoming wedding for a couple is the thought that they will now do everything together. This may be true, but it should not apply to hiring only one North Carolina divorce lawyer to draft an agreement. The attorneys involved in a creating a prenuptial agreement will negotiate what is best for the person they are representing. This is difficult when one lawyer is representing both sides. Each spouse needs his or her own lawyer when drafting these agreements.
Do Not Hide Property, Assets, or Debts
Some people simply do not want to put everything on the table when drafting a premarital agreement. Others unintentionally forget about certain property, assets, or debts and so, these are not included in the final agreement. However, it is important that both people are upfront and fully identify all of their property, assets, and debts. If they do not, the courts will likely render the agreement void and unenforceable.
Hire an Experienced North Carolina Family Lawyer for Your Premarital Agreement
Many couples believe they can simply write out their wishes for the premarital agreement and sign it for the courts to consider valid. In most cases, though, each person entering the marriage needs to speak to a family lawyer in North Carolina who can help. Otherwise, it is likely the courts will deem a prenup unenforceable.
If you are about to get married and would like the protection of a premarital agreement, contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today. We will help you draft an agreement that protects your interests and provides you more security in your marriage. If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter and need the help of experienced family-law attorneys in or around Charlotte, Lake Norman, or our new office in Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.
The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes two Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.
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