Getting married should be one of the most joyous times in life, but it’s also a time that may prompt a number of questions. One of them may be whether or not you should have a prenuptial agreement. You can’t make that decision until you understand what these contracts do and what they protect in the event the marriage ends in divorce.
Before you get married, it’s a good idea to have the kind of honest and open financial discussions that may lead naturally into a discussion about prenups. While considering what would happen in the event of divorce can cause momentary discomfort, it could be well worth it if the marriage doesn’t go as planned. According to Forbes, a 2012 Harris Interactive poll of 2,323 adults showed that 15 percent of them wished they’d had a prenup. A prenuptial agreement can actually benefit a marriage by spelling out what expectations will be. Here are a few things to consider when asking yourself if you need a prenup.
Prenuptial agreements are legally binding contracts that both members of the couple sign before marriage. They spell out the assets each person is bringing to the marriage and how they should be divided if the couple breaks up. A prenup can also cover how the couple is planning to divide their finances during the marriage and how they would split the family home and other jointly owned assets in the event of divorce. While nobody wants to think about breaking up while planning a wedding, it’s important to remember that about half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. By specifying how assets are to be distributed, a prenup can help make the process of ending your marriage easier.
While a prenup seems like an easy choice when you’re bringing property or a substantial income into a marriage, some people may think they don’t make enough money to need a prenup, but financial experts urge couples to reconsider. North Carolina follows the rule of equitable distribution in a divorce, by which courts seek to divide marital property fairly, though not necessarily equally, taking a variety of factors into consideration. A prenup’s clear instructions about what constitutes marital property and what constitutes separate property can ease the distribution process.
Prenups can also spell out who is left with debt after a divorce. Debt accrued during a marriage is generally considered to be marital debt and divided between the divorcing parties, but a prenup can spell out debt brought to the marriage and how it is to be assigned.
Talking to a skilled attorney can give you all the information you need about prenups. The family law attorneys with the Carolina Law Group can draft a sound document that protects your assets and gives you peace of mind. Call our firm at 252-672-2059 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our New Bern, Havelock or Morehead City office.