Many married and engaged couples avoid signing postnuptial or prenuptial agreements because they don't want to contemplate the possible end of their marriage. But such arrangements can be beneficial to couples, even if the marriage doesn't end in divorce.
What Is a Postnuptial Agreement?
When a marriage ends, the couple must divide their property. This contentious process can add to the already stressful experience of divorce. In North Carolina, each spouse must get a fair and equal amount of property—but that doesn't always mean the property is divided evenly.
A postnuptial agreement is a contract between two spouses that determines the property division in the event of a divorce. A postnuptial agreement differs from a prenuptial agreement because it is signed after a couple marries, not before. Such an agreement forces each spouse to be upfront about their financial situation and allow for an honest discussion about a couple's finances.
What Does a Postnuptial Agreement Cover?
- How to handle property, income, expenses, and debts if the marriage ends
- Which spouse is responsible for filing tax returns, paying certain expenses, or handling other financial responsibilities
- Alimony requirements
- What to do with certain assets if a spouse passes away
Postnuptial Agreement vs. Separation Agreement
In addition to postnuptial agreements, couples in North Carolina can draw up separation agreements. These two types of agreements have a few key differences that couples should be aware of.
A separation agreement is more common among couples who are living apart and anticipate filing for divorce. Additionally, postnuptial agreements cannot address child custody, support, or visitation, but separation agreements can.
Do You Need an Attorney for a Postnuptial Agreement in North Carolina?
You don't need a lawyer to create a postnuptial contract for you, but having one will make the process much simpler. North Carolina family law is complex, and you'll want to ensure your agreement adequately covers your interests. Having attorneys help you and your spouse create the agreement can also reduce some of the stress it puts on you.
To help you decide if a postnuptial agreement is the right choice for you, contact the experienced family law attorneys at Caulder & Valentine today.