My fiancé says we should have a prenuptial agreement before we get married. Is this really necessary? It seems unromantic to me.

Let’s answer the last bit of your question first: Yes, it’s probably unromantic. But that’s only to be expected—love and romance aren’t practical things. They tend to be all consuming. They are focused on the here-and-now and don’t look forward to the future.

And—let’s face it—sometimes romantic love doesn’t last. Bedazzled as you are right now, you don’t want to think about that, of course. But acknowledging that sometimes people fall out of love isn’t going to doom your relationship.

People can enter a marriage in North Carolina with vastly different expectations of what married life is like, and with significantly different resources. In some cases, it just makes sense to plan for what might happen in the future if the marriage does not work out, just as you and your fiancée will probably be altering your life insurance coverage now that you are starting a family together.

A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract between people soon to marry, committing both parties in advance to certain agreements if a divorce occurs. Such a document can:

  • Specify what possessions (and what debts) from each partner are considered separate property rather than marital property.
  • Create special agreements between the two of you—for instance, awarding one partner a greater share of the marital property if the other partner commits adultery.
  • Establish a process for negotiating other issues to reach a divorce settlement more easily, if that becomes necessary.

About half of all marriages in the United States simply do not last. Yours may be one of the fortunate ones, but you should not gamble on that. If either partner in a soon-to-be-married couple believes that you need a North Carolina prenuptial agreement, then you owe it to each other—at a minimum—to discuss the matter.

As North Carolina family law attorneys, we can tell you that the process of developing a prenuptial agreement can be a positive experience for a couple. When marriages fail, it is often because of money issues—and even more often because the partners have never had a frank conversation about income, wealth, and debt. Discussing finances before marriage opens the lines of communication on many other issues.

In rare cases, holding this conversation shows a couple that they simply aren’t compatible with one another. Now, that’s sad, but surely it’s better to find this out before marriage rather than after. And in other cases, the couple discovers that they are in fundamental agreement about so many things that they decide not to sign the prenup after it is drafted.

If you are ready to begin the process of drawing up a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, or if you just need further information, call 877-593-4233 toll-free to connect with a Wilmington matrimonial lawyer at Speaks Law Firm. We can work with you and your fiancée (or negotiate with his attorneys) to craft a fair agreement that reflects your wishes in a way that fosters your loving relationship.

 

R. Clarke Speaks
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Trial Lawyer and Founder of Speaks Law Firm, P.C.