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Raleigh NC Family Attorneys Educate- Why get a premarital agreement before saying I Do?

/// 02/08/2010

Raleigh North Carolina Divorce attorneys Gailor Wallis & Hunt report — The Equality in Marriage Institute emphasizes the value of entering into a premarital agreement before saying “I do.”

If you and your significant other are deeply in love, why is there a need for a written agreement before marriage dealing with property and potential support issues in the event of divorce? Don’t you trust each other? Why talk about this now when you are happily in love and want to get married? Discussion of premarital agreements between prospective spouses can be tough. It turns love and romance into a business deal. Certainly a romance killer. But the possibility of love and marriage ending in a separation or divorce is high. Statistically, 40%-50% of first marriages end in divorce. The rate is even higher for second and third marriages. Divorce is a costly, emotional ordeal. A premarital agreement can provide certainty in regard to distribution of property, support and other issues arising when a marriage is dissolved at a substantially lower cost than fighting these issues out in court.

A pre-marital agreement or prenuptial agreement, helps you to stop and take a moment for an in-depth look at you and your prospective spouse’s finances, goals and aspirations in life and decide what will happen to the assets and income each partner brings into the marriage and other key details such as whether a spouse will receive support in the case of a divorce

The Equality in Marriage Institute defines a premarital agreement as a “joint expression of a couple’s wishes….that reflects equality in financial matters.”

There are several legal points to know about a premarital agreement. First, it is a private agreement executed by two people who plan to marry. This agreement is the result of a serious discussion between prospective spouses of financial and non-financial issues including death or divorce, property, support and lifestyle among other issues. A premarital agreement is a binding contract that can override and preempt state, family and probate laws, which otherwise may protect a spouses’ marital and estate rights in the event of divorce or death. Most states have laws governing premarital agreements and set forth legal requirements to ensure that a premarital agreement is legally valid and binding

If you decide that a premarital agreement may be a step in the right direction, know that there are three primary rules to ensure the validity of your agreement; both partners entering in the agreement should disclose all applicable financial information; both should seek independent counsel; and both should allow enough time for preparation of the agreement before walking down the aisle. Key topics to consider in preparing your premarital agreement are:

  • Disclosure of assets, income and liabilities of both parties
  • Premarital debts and repayment
  • Each parties’ contribution to support of the family
  • What will happen in the event of death or divorce
  • Disposition of individually owned properties and property acquired during the marriage in the event of death or divorce
  • Alimony or spousal support in the case of divorce

The family law office of Gailor, Wallis & Hunt can help you prepare your pre-marital agreement so that in the case of a divorce, your assets will be protected and the dissolution of marriage, should it occur can be as non-adversarial as possible. The highly respected attorneys of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt have dedicated their lives to helping couples plan for, and preserve their marriage and family, but are also dedicated to assisting them obtain a fair and equitable divorce when that is the only alternative. GWH offers knowledge, skill and experience in the many areas of family law that is second to none.

Gailor, Wallis & Hunt
Raleigh Family Law Firm
101 Haynes Street
Raleigh, NC 27604-1455


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