North Carolina Prenuptial Agreements

The prenuptial agreement is a type of contract between prospective spouses that is formed before the marriage and effective upon the marriage. Some people perceive the prenuptial agreement in a negative way because they think it encourages divorce. Others view them as a great way to control what happens to property instead of completely relying on marital property, divorce, and probate law. Although there are various perspectives when it comes to prenups, the only opinions that truly matter are those of the engaged couple. Each couple should determine for themselves whether a prenuptial agreement is the right decision to make.

North Carolina Prenuptial Agreements at a Glance

Although statutes vary when it comes to complexity level, it never hurts to break the law down even further using basic terms. The chart below provides a synopsis of the law that governs prenuptial agreements in North Carolina.

Statutes

Content

 

 

Prenuptial agreements can cover various subject matters, not just what happens in the event of a divorce. North Carolina law dictates what can and can't be included in the agreement.

Contents of the prenuptial agreement may include the following:

  • Division of property in case of separation, divorce, or death;
  • 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;
  • Spousal support changes or elimination of support;
  • The making of a will, trust, or other arrangements to carry out the agreement terms;
  • The ownership rights in and distribution of the death benefit from a life insurance policy;
  • Choice of law decisions for the agreement; and
  • Any other matter (including personal rights and obligations) so long as the terms aren't contrary to public policy, involve a crime, or adversely affect a child's rights for child support.

Amendment/ Revocation

After the marriage, the prenuptial agreement may be amended or revoked only by a written agreement signed by both parties; the amended agreement is enforceable without consideration.

Enforcement

There are numerous reasons for invalidating a prenuptial agreement. If a party wants to invalidate the agreement, the party must prove that they didn't execute the agreement voluntarily. Or that the agreement was unconscionable when it was executed and that before execution of the agreement, the party didn't have the following:

  • A fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party;
  • A writing waiving their right to the disclosure of the other party's obligations; and
  • Knowledge of the other party's obligations or reason to know of the obligations.

Void Marriage: If a marriage turns out to be void, an agreement that would've been a valid prenuptial agreement but for the void marriage, is enforceable only to the extent necessary to avoid an unfair result.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Related Resources for North Carolina Prenuptial Agreements:

Considering a Prenuptial Agreement? Speak with an Attorney

If you're considering a prenuptial agreement, you should speak with an experienced lawyer before proceeding. A North Carolina family law attorney can help with writing the agreement or negotiating terms.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

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