North Carolina Prenup Info
Congratulations on your engagement! If you are considering entering into a prenuptial (or premarital) agreement in this sunny state, there are certain requirements you’ll have to meet in order for that agreement to be deemed valid in North Carolina. Read on!
Prenups in North Carolina
A premarital agreement (also referred to as a prenup) is defined in North Carolina as an “agreement between prospective spouses, made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage.” North Carolina prenups are governed by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act.
What can you contract to in a North Carolina prenup, anyway?
According to the North Carolina Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, parties to this agreement may contract to the following:
- 52B-4. Content:
(a) Parties to a premarital agreement may contract with respect to:
(1) The rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them whenever and wherever acquired or located;
(2) The right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property;
(3) The disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event;
(4) The modification or elimination of spousal support;
(5) The making of a will, trust, or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement;
(6) The ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy; (7) The choice of law governing the construction of the agreement; and
(8) Any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty.
(b) The right of a child to support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.
*Please note that last one- you cannot contract away the rights of a child in a prenup.
North Carolina prenup terminology
Official name for a prenup: Premarital Agreement
Property that is not marital: Separate Property
Property that is of the marriage: Marital Property
*a note on North Carolina Alimony, below.
A note on North Carolina spousal support / alimony
North Carolina is one of the few states that does not offer a guideline for how spousal support (AKA “Alimony”) should be calculated. Why does this matter for you? Well, it makes it difficult to get a gauge on what you are agreeing to when spousal support is of issue in your premarital agreement. So, we can included a helpful Q&A published by the North Carolina Judicial Branch here, that addresses questions around divorce and alimony.
What CAN you include in a valid North Carolina prenup?
- Separate Property – A NC prenup can specify what property should be considered separate property throughout the marriage not considered marital property.
- Marital Property – A NC prenup can specify what property should be considered marital property of the marriage. Marital property can include assets that were otherwise premarital (if you specify this should be the case, and do not forget about appreciation in value of that separate property), as well as assets acquired after the marriage.
- Alimony – (often also referred to as “spousal support”) This is the support of one spouse by the other spouse in the event of a separation or divorce. Your NC prenuptial agreement can specify whether you and your future spouse will choose to allow a court to decide future spousal support, or whether you will choose to waive this support altogether.
What CAN’T you contract to in a North Carolina prenup?
- You cannot contract to anything in violation of public policy or of a statute imposing a criminal penalty.
- The right of a child to support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.
Can you amend a North Carolina prenup?
Yes! After marriage, a North Carolina prenuptial agreement may be amended or revoked by written agreement, and must signed by the parties to the agreement. Here is the exact language, straight from the source:
After marriage, a premarital agreement may be amended or revoked only by a written agreement signed by the parties. The amended agreement or the revocation is enforceable without consideration. (1987, c. 473, s. 1.) Read the full text on NC Prenups here.
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