There is no universal answer to the question of whether you should complete a prenuptial agreement before marriage; the decision is quite personal. The answer will differ with each couple.
However, to get a sense of whether this type of agreement can be valuable for you or not, you can ask yourselves a few important questions.
- Do you and your partner have disparate levels of wealth? When you get married, most assets and debts you accumulate throughout your marriage will be shared property eligible for division in a divorce. As such, if you or your partner has substantial separate property before you get married, a prenuptial agreement can be effective at shielding that property from division, should any part become marital.
- Do you or your partner have specific property to protect? Separate property need not be substantial to warrant protection with a prenup. For instance, you and your partner may have very similar levels of wealth, but you could have a specific piece of property you want to shield from division. This might be a family heirloom, a business or a piece of real estate.
- Do you or your partner have pets or children? In North Carolina, prenups cannot include terms that have an adverse effect on things like the right to child support. However, you can use a prenup to set aside property for your children from a previous relationship. You can also establish terms for how to address any pets you have and where the animal(s) will live if you divorce.
These questions represent some of the most common reasons why people have prenuptial agreements, as well as some of the most important elements you can protect with one.
Therefore, if you answered yes to any of these questions, or wish to acquire more information, it could be wise to discuss with an attorney the process of completing a prenup.
Again, though, every case and every couple is different. Whether you should actually have one — and what you might include in one — will depend on your specific needs and circumstances.