Most people recognize the terms “prenuptial” or “premarital agreement.” Likewise, most, are aware that if a married couple part from each other that they may enter into a “Separation Agreement.” Many people do not know that in North Carolina, and most other states, you may enter into a binding contract with your spouse DURING marriage. These marriage agreements are called Post-marital or Postnuptial Agreements.
Common Reasons to Enter Into a Post-Marital Agreement
1. To distribute property in the event of a separation without having to negotiate at that time over the covered items. Also, to avoid the laws on Equitable Distribution in North Carolina.
2. To protect business interests which may be affected by a future separation.
3. To provide terms for the selling of the house upon which a separation will occur. This will require a subsequent separation agreement since the parties are solely dealing with the house sale in the postnuptial agreement.
4. To regulate finances. A postnuptial agreement may provide for the use of income and the sharing of expenses
5. Revising a Prenuptial Agreement. A prenuptial agreement may become outdated, unenforceable or unfair. A postnuptial agreement can rectify the problems.
6. Infidelity. A postnuptial agreement may require certain actions on an unfaithful spouse. This inlcudes undergoing counseling and providing for property or money payments in the event of future infidelities are the most common.
Requirements of Postnuptial Agreements
These marriage contracts are formal, legal documents. They must be prepared and signed pursuant to the state laws which allow the agreements. Here are the requirements.
1. Agreements must be in writing
2. They should not have terms that are against public policy: An example would be to have terms requiring one spouse to go on welfare should the parties separate.
3. They should be notarized by an unrelated Notary Public or similar official such as a consular officer when signing the agreement.
The Family Law team at Weaver, Bennett and Bland can advise you on the ins and outs of postnuptial agreements. We’ll prepare an agreement to ease your mind in the years that follow, and in the event of a separation.