When you're planning to get married or are a newlywed, one of the last things you want to think about is how you and your new spouse will divide assets if you separate. If you have properties or assets that you'd like to protect, such as a business or a large piece of land, signing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement could be an essential step. It's important to know the difference between a prenuptial and postnuptial agreement and when you should put either into place.
Most people are aware of prenuptial agreements and how they work. Two people about to get married sign an agreement stipulating the division of their assets and properties should the marriage be dissolved. A prenuptial agreement can also allow a spouse to retain an asset or property in their own name during the marriage.
On the other hand, a postnuptial agreement is signed after the marriage takes place. Although it's not as commonly used as a prenuptial agreement, it can be an important document to help you and your spouse sort out your finances.
When to Use a Postnuptial Agreement
There are several situations in which signing a postnuptial agreement would be in your interest. These include:
Secure business interests: If you own a business, you may wish to keep it separate or retain control of it in the marriage. Without an agreement in place, a divorce could negatively impact the business's assets.
Protect your assets: The state of North Carolina uses equitable distribution to divide assets in a divorce. As you and your spouse may not have entered the marriage with equitable assets, this method could end up hurting you. A postnuptial agreement lets you set the terms for dividing assets if you get divorced, essentially overriding the North Carolina law.
- Revise a prenuptial agreement: It's possible you already put a prenuptial agreement in place, but circumstances can change. A large inheritance or promotion at work can reconfigure your finances substantially. In these situations, you can use a postnuptial agreement to revise the prenuptial agreement you already signed.
Skilled Legal Guidance for Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
If you and your spouse or soon-to-be spouse are wondering if a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is for you, our experienced family law attorneys can help. Call us at 919-719-2785 or contact us online, and we'd be happy to answer your questions.