Cary Postnups Lawyer

If you’re already married, you might want to consider a postnup to protect you, your spouse, and your family from a possible separation or divorce. Postnuptial agreements are basically the same as prenuptial agreements, except they are signed after a wedding instead of before. Just like prenups, postnups are a tool to protect both spouses should a divorce occur down the road.

In our practice, we’ve found that postnuptial agreements can be even more effective than prenups since they’re more realistic. You’ve been married, you have insight into how your relationship and lives work together, and you have a better idea of what you’d need if you separated.
There is one downside to postnups. If you have a North Carolina postnuptial agreement, it cannot include considerations for spousal support, or alimony, EXCEPT when the agreement is signed during your separation.

Postnups, like prenups, also can’t address custody or child support because, in North Carolina, all these decisions must be made based upon the situation when you separate and not your prediction of what your lives will be like then.

We get that not being able to include alimony or custody might make postnuptial agreements seem like they aren’t worth it in North Carolina. Still, there are many reasons why postnups are beneficial. The biggest reason postnups are beneficial for couples is, typically, postnups are done when you and your spouse are on good terms and working towards a common goal. That makes the process much easier and saves you the frustration and stress of trying to figure this all out in the middle of a separation.

While this is as good a reason as any to get a postnup, there are three typical situations in which clients ask us to help with a postnup.
The first is one spouse, or both spouses, own a business. Suppose you have started a business during your marriage or your business has grown significantly during the marriage. In those situations, your spouse will have a claim to part of the value of the business if you divorce. A postnup can outline how the business value and ownership are divided at separation.

No matter your specific situation, if you are married and own a business and don’t have a prenup in place, you really should consider a postnup. And here’s a tip, if you have a married business partner, you should ask them to consider getting a postnup with their spouse, unless you want their spouse to possibly become a third owner with you if they get divorced. If you want to limit how much you could get drug into their divorce, you should definitely ask them to consider a postnup.

The second reason we see clients come in for a postnuptial agreement is less fun but more common: infidelity. When cheating occurs in a marriage, it doesn’t always end in separation or divorce. Some spouses want to put protections in place just in case infidelity happens again in the future. It provides some security, peace of mind, and it’s just smart.

The third reason clients seek a postnup is any change in financial situation, good or bad. If one spouse wins the lottery, or more realistically, receives a large inheritance, a postnup can keep specific money separate or provide a way to get it back. If one spouse decides to stay home to watch the children, forgoing an income, a postnup can ensure they are taken care of financially.

Postnups will be specifically tailored for every couple, just like a prenup. There isn’t just a standard form, as your relationship, finances, and family situation is unique to you. Because of this, it’s a smart choice to find a legal team who has experience with postnuptial agreements to make sure everything is the way you want it and that the postnup is done right, so it’s enforceable if you ever need it later. Triangle Smart Divorce is here to help you, before or after you get married.



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Frequently Asked Questions

How long after I get married can I get a postnup in North Carolina?

There is no time limit on getting a postnuptial agreement in North Carolina. You can be married 6 days, 6 months, 6 years, or 66 years and you are allowed to get a postnup.

Can I get a prenup instead of a postnup?

If you are already married, you can no longer get a prenuptial agreement. Prenups can only be signed before marriage certificates are signed. If you are already legally married, you must get a postnup. 

Are Postnuptial Agreements valid in North Carolina?

North Carolina does recognize postnups.

However, there are a few factors judges will look at to determine the validity of an agreement if the agreement is challenged. First, a judge will decide whether either party signed out of duress, by coercion, or some other unfairness in the signing. Next, the judge will look at if the terms of the postnup are substantively unfair. If both of these situations occurred, a postnup can be set aside.

What Do Postnuptial Agreements Cover?

Postnups can cover a broad range of areas and are customized to every couple’s situation.

Postnups can include how assets like financial accounts and property will be split. If you own a business, with or without your spouse, postnups can outline how this business will be dealt with in the event of a separation. You cannot change your personal liability to a creditor, but you can address how the debt will be paid, between you and your spouse, in a postnup. While postnups typically address the division of assets and debts at the time of separation, you can also address on-financial matters, like what tax filing status you will use or how separate property can be created during the marriage.

You can include all of these or just one. It is up to you, your spouse, and your lawyers as to what to include, given your goals and intended outcomes.

In North Carolina, the only areas that cannot be addressed in a postnup are spousal support, alimony, child support, and custody.

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