As North Carolina enters its first month of same-sex marriage ceremonies, Woodruff Family Law Group has announced today its plans to inform and educate same-sex couples about the ability to establish a legally binding premarital agreement on their own terms. With the right to legally wed, comes the inevitability that some of the same-sex marriages may lead to divorce. Either way, a premarital agreement gives both parties planning to wed the right to define their union well past, “I do.”
The premarital agreement, commonly referred to as a ‘prenup’ is, in fact, a binding contract that specifies the rights and obligations of both parties. Such types of obligations often include large amounts of money, financial holdings, and spousal maintenance, among other items. Some have criticized the true purpose of premarital agreements, saying it is a document that anticipates divorce. Others consider this contract as an effective legal tool that allows two people to design their own unique relationship. All couples are free to prepare a premarital agreement on most any subject except children, as long as the agreement does not violate public policy or a criminal statute.
“This is an important time for North Carolina. While our state is just beginning to allow same-sex marriages, there are still more than 20 states that disagree. Implementing a premarital agreement allows any two people to legally define the most important aspects of their union. The premarital agreement is a binding contract. Additionally, with a 57 percent divorce rate in our country, just like married couples, some same-sex couples who marry will face divorce. These couples have the same rights to protection and peace of mind that a premarital agreement can provide any two individuals,” says Woodruff Family Law Group Founder and Family Law Specialist, Carolyn J. Woodruff.
When considering a premarital agreement, same-sex couples may want to speak with a family law specialist about three crucial questions:
1. Which state’s law will apply?
2. What state will have jurisdiction over any money and property disputes?
3. Will the courts in a couple’s home state enforce the premarital agreement?
The answers to these three questions above will vary, related to the individual state laws and the premarital agreement itself. Therefore, consideration should be given to seeking out the advice of an attorney specializing in family law before finalizing any agreement.