Curious about whether a postnup is right for your situation?
If you’re married and considering how to protect your assets and plan for your future, you may have heard of postnuptial agreements.
Postnuptial agreements are a type of marital agreement that can be created after a couple gets married. They are similar to prenuptial agreements, but they are created during the marriage instead of being created before the wedding.
Postnuptial agreements can be a useful tool for couples who want to clarify their financial rights and responsibilities and protect their assets in the event of a divorce or legal separation. Given the stakes, you will benefit from discussing your options with a knowledgeable local lawyer with experience in family law matters.
Every spouse has their own reasons for pursuing a postnuptial agreement. While the circumstances that could lead to a postnuptial agreement are varied, certain situations are more likely than others to make these agreements feasible.
A knowledgeable family law attorney in Kernersville can assist individuals in determining when a postnuptial agreement is appropriate.
In many situations, a postnuptial agreement is used as a precursor to divorce proceedings. Some parties enter into these marital agreements before separating to avoid the costly and public litigation that comes with dissolving their marriage.
Other spouses use these agreements as a condition for remaining in a marriage. Following incidents of infidelity or drug use, for example, a spouse might only agree to remain in the marriage in exchange for a postnuptial agreement.
Another reason is to revise a prenuptial agreement—whether it’s because of a huge promotion, large bonus, inheritance, or large change in the family’s finances, updating what you might do in case of divorce and how to handle the sudden income changes is a common reason to create a postnuptial agreement.
On the other hand, a postnuptial agreement may be helpful to ensure peace of mind among spouses who have no intention of divorcing.
For example, these agreements are useful when one spouse accumulates substantial debt during marriage and does not want their spouse to be personally responsible for it or when a large inheritance is received and invested in property that benefits the marriage, such as paying off a mortgage or student loans, or to buy a vacation house or timeshare.
While courts usually uphold a signed prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, they are not obligated to uphold every agreement entered into by spouses in Kernersville.
There are limitations on what topics these agreements can cover, and they must also meet certain technical requirements. An experienced attorney with Apple Payne Law will help ensure a postnuptial agreement meets all of the requirements under the law.
First and foremost, any postnuptial agreement must be in writing and executed by both spouses. This written agreement must also be certified by a notary public or “certifying official” as defined by NCGS § 52-10(b).
The terms of the agreement must be clear, particularly in any family law cases where spouses waive rights they would otherwise be guaranteed under the law. This includes spousal support, equitable distribution of marital property, etc.
The agreement should also be supported by “consideration”, which is a legal way of something that it can’t be one-sided. In other words, a post-marital agreement must have something for each spouse. Remaining in the marriage is one example of acceptable non-monetary consideration or generally benefitting from the terms.
Since major revisions in 2013, North Carolina allows most terms in a postnuptial agreement. However, there are some limitations to what can be included in a marital agreement.
Unlike marital property and asset matters, family court has the power to decide issues involving children based on the child’s best interests, even if the parents reach an agreement. Therefore, language regarding child custody, child support, or visitation in a postnuptial agreement is only considered as a “starting point” for a court. A judge can review whether such arrangements are in the child’s best interest later on. However, a well-written agreement can lay out concerns for a judge and also minimize future conflict.
Additionally, the agreement cannot include anything that goes against public policy, such as an agreement that requires one spouse to commit a crime or waive their right to seek a divorce.
Finally, the agreement must be fair and reasonable at the time it is signed. If a court finds the agreement unconscionable or was signed under duress, it may be declared invalid.
If you are considering a postnuptial agreement, now is the time to discuss your options with the legal team at a family law firm. The sooner you talk to an attorney, the sooner you can protect yourself and your assets and ensure that your goals can be accomplished properly.
A Kernersville postnuptial agreements lawyer can help with the hard work of developing an agreement for your family law matter. Contact our law office right away to learn more.
Who can draft a postnuptial agreement?
A postnuptial agreement must be drafted by an experienced family law attorney.
How is a postnuptial agreement enforced?
Postnuptial agreements are enforced in the same way as any other contract. If one spouse does not adhere to the terms of the agreement, the other spouse can file a lawsuit to enforce the agreement.
Are postnuptial agreements legally binding?
Yes, postnuptial agreements are legally binding contracts that are enforceable in court.
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