Can I avoid alimony with a prenuptial agreement?

A carefully drafted and properly executed prenuptial agreement can provide both financial protection and comfort for both spouses.  A prenup may outline what property is separately owned by each spouse and what is jointly owned by both spouses, provide support for children from a previous relationship, protect one spouse from the debts and liabilities of the other, and designate who will be responsible for handling certain financial matters (businesses, tax returns, etc.) during the marriage.  While a prenup can have a wide variety of terms, there are some limits on what a prenuptial agreements can do under North Carolina law.  All or part(s) of the agreement may be found void if it contains the following prohibited terms:

  • Requiring either spouse, or any one else, to do something prohibited by law;
  • Providing any type of incentive for divorce (financial or otherwise);
  • Waiving either spouse’s right to alimony;
  • Determining issues of child custody or child support; and
  • Specifying which spouse is responsible for non-financial personal matters (like how the children will be raised, who will do the housekeeping, etc.). 

To ensure your prenuptial agreement complies with state law and is likely to be upheld by a court in the event of a future dispute over its terms, it is important to consult with an experienced family law attorney to draft or review any agreement.

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