The day you get engaged may be one of the best days of your life. Planning your wedding may be one of the most exciting things you have ever anticipated. During this time of celebration, you are not thinking about what will happen to your property if you were to ever separate and divorce. However, with approximately 4 in 10 marriages ending in divorce, it is important to protect yourself before you say “I do.” Get familiar with this safety net: prenuptials.
The merging of two lives through matrimony involves much more than exchanging rings. Family, finances, property, and other aspects of your separate lives become intertwined. Here, at the Law Offices of Ashley-Nicole Russell, we want to ensure that you know your rights and that you are covered. Similar to purchasing home, life, or auto insurance in case of a catastrophe, having an executed prenuptial agreement protects you pre-marriage. We purchase car insurance not because we plan to wreck our car, but instead to cover our car in case of an accident. With a properly executed prenuptial agreement, you can determine what happens to you and your future spouse’s property and assets upon future divorce or even death.
With the current divorce rates in North Carolina, it is in your best interest to sit down with one of the experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Ashley-Nicole Russell to discuss, negotiate, draft, and sign a prenuptial agreement with your significant other. While discussing financial matters and a future divorce may be a sensitive and undesirable topic, it is important to be able to discuss financial situations before marriage. You are already planning on spending the rest of your life with this person, finances and property should be an easy topic! Creating healthy communication about finances and property is a great foundation for a healthy marriage.
Prenuptials Have You Covered
A premarital/prenuptial agreement establishes certain property and financial rights before marriage. Each spouse may have different property and financial rights in the event of a divorce. In North Carolina, we use Equitable Distribution to divide property and assets between spouses. Anything labeled as “marital property” is subject to equitable distribution. Try to view a prenuptial agreement as a tool used to distinguish between separate and marital property.
The prenuptial agreement may not only go into effect because of a divorce. The terms of a prenuptial agreement can also take effect when one spouse dies. A prenuptial agreement will take precedence over an Equitable Distribution Complaint as well as a Will, if applicable.
Negotiating The Terms
As your lawyer, Ashley-Nicole Russell will take an understanding and sensitive approach to your prenuptial agreement. You and your partner will get to negotiate and choose many of the terms of the agreement regarding your individual property and assets. In the end, you will feel confident that your assets and finances are under protection upon divorce.
Perks Of Prenuptials
There are several other benefits to signing a prenuptial agreement. It protects one spouse from the other spouse’s debts so that creditors cannot seize marital property. It also ensures that any children from a prior marriage may inherit your property. Protect your birth family inheritances, heirlooms, and family businesses through prenuptials as well. However, a prenuptial agreement does not replace a Will. For estate planning, you will also want to backup your prenuptial agreement with a Will and/ or living trust.
Ms. Russell will advise and guide you through the decision making process. Her team will review the legal aspects of your prenuptial agreement with you. Further, Ms. Russell will explain the factors that make a prenuptial agreement valid and therefore legal.
Making The Prenuptial Agreement Valid and Legal
Prenuptial agreements are invalid if they are not in writing, not properly executed, or you were under duress when executing the agreement. There are a few other provisions that would make portions of a prenuptial agreement invalid as well. For example, child support obligations cannot be modified through this type of agreement. Anything violating the law would be invalid too. However, just because one clause is invalid does not mean the judge would not enforce the rest of the agreement. The judge may strike out any of the enforceable clauses and keep the other clauses in effect.
What To Expect At Your Prenuptial Agreement Meeting
At the Law Offices of Ashley-Nicole Russell, we will discuss each of your incomes, assets, and liabilities. It is important to remember that any information you give Ms. Russell is completely confidential. Withholding information and also falsifying any of this information may make the agreement invalid. There must be full disclosure by both parties for the prenuptial agreement to be valid and enforceable.
In North Carolina, one attorney cannot represent both parties. Thus, one spouse will need to hire Ms. Russell. The other spouse can choose to hire an attorney or represent himself or herself. This will separate the interests of both parties.
Deeming prenuptial agreements as unconscionable is also possible. If the agreement is likely to cause one of the parties undue hardship while the other party is prospering, the court may not uphold the agreement.
I do… want a Prenuptial Agreement- ANR Is Here For You
With lives merging through marriage, the Law Offices of Ashley-Nicole Russell are here to help represent you and find the peace of mind you need, no matter the financial backgrounds.
At the Law Offices of Ashley-Nicole Russell, you will be in the good hands of an experienced family law attorney. Visit our Prenuptial Agreements service page or contact us today to discuss having a prenuptial agreement drafted.