Hatcher Law Group

Agreements (Prenuptial, Separation, & Property Settlement)

We have a wealth of experience as Charlotte Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers and can guide you through the entire agreement creation process.  Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation. We are happy to provide more details on Prenuptial Agreements, Separation Agreements, and Property Settlement Agreements below:

Quick Facts:

  • Parties may set forth in a Premarital Agreement how important issues (excluding issues regarding children) arising from the marriage will be resolved in the event of separation, divorce, death or the occurrence/nonoccurrence of any other event. In a Premarital Agreement parties often set forth how property will be divided in the event of a separation, divorce or death and how alimony issues will be resolved (elimination, modification or otherwise) in the event of a separation or divorce. 
  • Chapter 52 B of the North Carolina General Statutes is the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act which governs Premarital Agreements in North Carolina.  
  • Contracts between husbands and wives which are in writing, signed before a “certifying officer” and which are not inconsistent with public policy, are valid and binding.    The “certifying officer” must be a notary public or a justice, judge, magistrate, clerk, assistant clerk or deputy clerk of the General Court of Justice or the equivalent in the state where the acknowledgment is made. The certifying officer cannot be a party to the contract. N.C.G.S. §52-10.
  • A married couple can enter into a separation agreement, not inconsistent with public policy, which shall be legal, valid and binding so long as it is in writing and acknowledged by a “certifying officer” (as defined in N.C.G.S. §52-10).    
Elements of a Premarital Agreement:
 
A premarital agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties.   NCGS §52B-3.   Although it is not required that a premarital agreement be signed before a notary, such is strongly suggested as many other states require notarization. 
 
Pursuant to NCGS §52B-4, parties may contractually agree in a premarital agreement as to: 
(1)   The rights and obligations of each party with respect to property, regardless of when acquired or where the property is located;
(2)   The right to buy, sell, use, transfer or otherwise manage and control property;
(3)   How property will be divided upon separation, death or the occurrence (or nonoccurrence) of some event;
(4)   The modification or elimination of alimony and/or post-separation support;
(5)   The making of a will, trust or other such document to carry out the arrangements in the premarital agreement;
(6)   Rights regarding life insurance policies;
(7)   The choice of state law governing the agreement; and
(8)   Any other matter including personal rights and obligations which are not in violation of public policy or a criminal statute.              
 A premarital agreement does not become effective until the date of marriage.  NCGS §52B-5.
 
A premarital agreement is not enforceable if the party against whom enforcement is sought proves that: 
(1)   He/she did not execute the agreement voluntarily; OR
(2)   The agreement was unconscionable when it was executed and, before execution that party:
a. Was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property/financial obligations of the other party;
b. Did not voluntarily and expressly waive in writing any right to disclosure of property/financial obligations beyond the disclosure provided; and
c. Did not have, or reasonably could not have had, an adequate knowledge of the property and financial obligation of the other. NCGS §52B-7(a).
 
If a premarital agreement modifies or eliminates spousal support such that one party to the agreement is eligible for public assistance at the time of the separation or marital dissolution, the court, notwithstanding the terms of the premarital agreement, may require the other party to provide support to the extent necessary to avoid that eligibility. NCGS §52B-7(b).
 
Elements of a Postnuptial Agreement: 

1.       “In writing”
 
 
For a Postnuptial Agreement or Separation Agreement to be binding, it must be in writing.
  
2.       “Not inconsistent with public policy”
 
A Postnuptial Agreement or Separation Agreement cannot be inconsistent with public policy. Public policy is defined as “[t]hat principle of the law which holds that no subject can lawfully do that which has a tendency to be injurious to the public or against the public good…… certain classes of acts are said to be “against public policy” when the law refuses to enforce or recognize them, on the ground that they have a mischievous tendency, so as to be injurious to the interest of the state, apart from illegality or immorality”. Black’s Law Dictionary, Abridged 5th Edition, page 603.   Quite simply, this means that an agreement will not be enforced if it contains provisions that may be detrimental to the public good.     

3.       “Signed before a certifying officer”
 A certifying officer is a notary public or a justice, judge, magistrate, clerk, assistant clerk or deputy clerk of the General Court of Justice for North Carolina or the equivalent or corresponding officer of the state or foreign country where the acknowledgment is made. The certifying officer must not be a party to the contract.   N.C.G.S. §52-10.