Are you married and wishing you had made a premarital agreement with your current spouse? Do you wish there was some kind of contract you and your spouse could enter into, now that you’ve tied the knot? A post-marital agreement could solve these and many other issues for you.
A post-marital agreement is a legal contract that two spouses create when they put down their terms in writing, sign the document, and have the document notarized. So long as the agreement is not against public policy, once those three steps occur the post-marital agreement has legal significance as a valid and enforceable contract. While North Carolina General Statute § 52-10 provides the statutory authority governing these contracts, post-marital agreements are an excellent way for spouses to create their own rules for property or resources—especially in the event of a separation and/or divorce—versus relying on state law to determine the rules.
Spouses may choose to enter into a post-marital agreement for a number of reasons. For example, where one spouse receives an inheritance, he or she may want to insure either that the inheritance remains his or her separate property or that the inheritance is shared in a specific way with the other spouse. The same is true for large promotions at work: post-marital agreements can distribute the funds from these events as the spouses desire. Alternatively, where one spouse loses his or her job or there is some uncertainty with the family’s financials, post-marital agreements can distribute financial responsibilities to each spouse in an organized and concrete manner. Additionally, post-marital agreements provide an alternative to amending your already existing premarital agreement.
Post-marital agreements are also a good way to protect each spouse’s interests in the event they did not sign a premarital agreement before getting married. In this way, post-marital agreements are a good alternative to premarital agreements because there is less stress on the couple. Spouses need not be separated or contemplating divorce to create post-marital agreements, either; they are just a useful method to give legal status to certain actions or property distributions. In fact, some post-marital agreements are used to govern where or to whom personal possessions are to go in the event one or both of the spouses pass away.
Since post-marital agreements can be crafted for almost any purpose, they often involve multiple areas of law. Many of these agreements involve property, invoking elements of property law, or even spousal support, invoking family law, and all of them are contracts and thus involve contracts law as well. To make sure the post-marital agreement is well-constructed and won’t have unforeseen legal consequences in the future, having an attorney create one for you or at the very least look it over is always a wise decision.
If you would like to create a post-marital agreement unique to your needs, or if you already have one and just need an attorney’s skilled review, please do not hesitate to contact our office.