A prenuptial agreement, also known as a premarital agreement or a prenup is a contract a couple enters before marriage. The contract addresses the rights and obligations of each spouse after marriage. These agreements are governed by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. This statute establishes that a prenuptial agreement is just like a contract, it can be voided if certain requirements are not met.
First, the agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties before they become married. Second, in North Carolina, the agreement must also be acknowledged by a certifying officer. Essentially, this means that a certifying officer must ask each party if he or she has willingly entered into the agreement. However, a certifying officer does not have to immediately affix his or her certification after acknowledgment, it only has to happen before the couple gets married. An agreement will be invalid if the certifying officer acknowledges the agreement but does not talk to one of the parties. Both parties must interact with the certifying party in some way to express their willingness to enter into the agreement.
Second, amending or changing the agreement requires a written agreement signed by both parties. If one party makes changes to the document without the other party’s approval, those changes are invalid and cannot be enforced.
Third, a prenuptial agreement can also be voided if it was unconscionable when it was executed. This requires proving three matters before a court. First, the other spouse did not accurately provide a full listing of his or her finances. Second, the spouse wishing to void the agreement did not voluntarily and expressly in writing give up his or her right to full disclosure beyond the disclosure given by the other spouse. This means that the spouse wishing to void the agreement did not willingly give up his or her right to seek more from the other spouse. Third, the spouse wishing to void the agreement did not have adequate knowledge of the assets, property, and financial obligations of the other spouse.
North Carolina law requires that a prenuptial agreement be (1) in writing, (2) signed by both parties, and (3) acknowledged by a certifying officer. Any agreement that does not meet these requirements when entered into is invalid and may be voided. Additionally, a prenuptial agreement may be voided if a spouse can show that the agreement was unconscionable.
At King Law we understand the challenges involved in any family law matter. Our goal is to help guide you through this process and listen to your concerns. Call 888-748-KING (5464) or fill out our form to schedule a consultation at one of our multiple office locations throughout North and South Carolina.