Creating a Legally Binding Prenuptial Agreement

The least romantic thing that someone can think about following an engagement might be a prenuptial agreement that addresses what happens if you were to separate from your newly minted fiancé. If you are considering getting married, or if you are recently engaged, the last thing you want to discuss with your fiancé is a prenuptial agreement. However, if you are concerned about protecting your financial future, a prenuptial agreement is a legally binding way for you to ensure that your assets remain protected in the unfortunate event of a divorce.

While a prenuptial agreement is not a particularly romantic endeavor, it is one that should be entered into willingly by both parties. A prenuptial agreement allows both parties to agree that certain assets will remain excluded from the division of marital property if a divorce occurs in the future. This can be critical when one person has created a professional or medical practice, or has a great deal of family assets that need to be protected. In other cases, two people may be getting married later in life and may already have financial security established individually. They might want to retain that independence regarding their finances or secure inheritances for children from former partners.

Whatever the reason is that a couple makes the decision to create a prenuptial agreement, if you are considering creating a prenuptial agreement in the state of North Carolina, there are certain steps you should take to ensure that it will be legally binding in the future.

Acting as Soon as Possible

While you may not want to give your recent fiancé prenuptial agreement paperwork mere moments after popping the question, it is important to tackle the prenuptial agreement as soon as possible following the engagement. While most people want to begin the fun process of planning a wedding, including finding a dress, calling a caterer, or booking a wedding photographer, the truth is that both parties should act as soon as possible with respect to prenuptial agreements. The reason that it is legally important to act quickly regarding a prenuptial agreement is that postponing the execution of legally binding prenuptial documents can result in a later ruling by a judge that the prenuptial agreement was created under some form of stress, duress, manipulation, or coercion. Once the wedding planning is in full swing, and purchases have been made, if one party requests a prenuptial agreement, it may feel to the other person that they are being forced to sign the document under the threat of not going through with the wedding. This can be considered duress or coercion and may result in the document being rendered invalid.

Acting With Integrity and Honesty

As with all aspects of your future marriage, you should act with integrity and honesty regarding a prenuptial agreement. Make sure to sit down with your fiancé and discuss all of your finances, debts, assets, and properties. Additionally, you should also discuss the possibility of future inheritances that you may receive. Being completely honest and acting with integrity during the prenuptial process will ensure that your fiancé has all of the information necessary in order to make a decision regarding the prenuptial agreement. If you fail to discuss any future inheritances or make full disclosure of your assets and property, it can be used against you to invalidate a prenuptial agreement at a future time.

Avoid Controlling Clauses

Both parties should have their wishes heard during the process of creating a prenuptial agreement. Any attempt to include unreasonable or controlling clauses in a prenuptial agreement may be legal grounds in the future to invalidate the agreement entirely. One party should not include any clauses that are non-financial in nature, such as making a demand that the other spouse does not gain any weight or that there must be a date night every week. These types of requests are always considered unreasonable by a court and may be grounds for a complete dismissal of a prenuptial agreement.

Additionally, it is important to note that a prenuptial agreement only addresses financial matters that currently exist or are expected to occur, such as possible inheritances. However, prenuptial agreements are not allowed to include any legally binding decisions regarding future child support, child custody, or commission of illegal acts. However, agreements regarding future spousal support can be addressed in a prenuptial agreement and will be enforceable.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

Learn how an experienced family law attorney at Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Monroe, North Carolina at 704.370.2828 can help you with your prenuptial agreement. Contact us by phone or online today for your initial consultation.