A marriage contract or a pre-marital contract (sometimes called a “prenup”) is a contract concluded by a potential spouse before marriage and which concerns the rights and obligations of the spouses after marriage. In North Carolina, marriage contracts are governed by a special state law. A marriage contract must be written and signed by both future spouses before the marriage. The conditions will come into effect after the marriage. After the entry into force of a marriage contract, both spouses may modify or revoke the conditions only by a written agreement signed by both spouses. Pre-marital agreements allow spouses to protect separated property that has been owned from the marriage. The agreement establishes the conditions for the division of ownership and financial obligations in the event of death or the end of the marriage. These agreements are more common when one or both parties have large assets, children from a previous marriage, expected estates of a great nature, high incomes, or previous experience of a controversial divorce – and wish to tackle potential problems in advance. A marriage lawyer, often a lawyer who primarily practices family law, can provide legal advice to help you know the terms to include in your marriage contract. In North Carolina, marriage contracts must be written and signed by the prospective spouses before the couple is married.
The marriage contract will only come into effect when the couple gets married. If the couple never marries, the agreement will be void. Couples can later amend or revoke their marriage contract, but all amendments must be made in writing and signed by both spouses.