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I’m Already Married — Can I Still Sign a Prenup in North Carolina?

Premartial and Postmartial Agreements

Contrary to popular belief, premarital and postmarital agreements (which most non-lawyers call prenuptial and postnuptial agreements or “prenups” and “postnups” for short) aren’t just tools for the wealthy and frequently divorced. Signing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help a couple protect their individual assets and clarify expectations before and during the marriage. Prenups and postnups can also control what happens in case a couple separates and eventually divorces.

For various reasons, many people want to know whether you can sign a prenup if you’re already married. The answer is no, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put a marital agreement in place — it just needs to be a postnuptial or postmarital agreement.

In this blog, we’ll explain when you can sign a prenup and discuss the difference between prenups and postnups. We’ll also describe some scenarios where creating a marriage agreement may be the right choice.

For the rest of this article, we’ll refer to marital agreements as prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements or prenups and postnups since that’s what most people call them. Just remember that prenuptial agreement and premarital agreement are different terms for the same thing, and the same is true for postnuptial agreement and postmarital agreement.

When Can I Sign a Prenup?

Prenuptial agreements are legal agreements that couples sign before getting married. A prenuptial agreement can create a structure for the financial aspects of the relationship during the marriage, and it can also control how assets and property get divided if the marriage ends in a separation and divorce.

As we mentioned earlier, North Carolina law says you can only sign a prenuptial agreement before you get married. However, if you’re looking for ways to protect your assets after you’ve already gotten married, a postnuptial agreement is a good option. Like a prenup, a postnup describes how you and your spouse will divide property in the event of a split; the only difference is that you sign the postnup after the wedding.

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How Are Postnups Different Than Prenups in North Carolina?

Like prenups, postnups describe what will happen to a couple’s assets in the event of a separation and divorce. Prenups can include stipulations for spousal support, but they can’t settle issues of child custody and child support. On the other hand, postnups usually can’t settle issues of spousal support. This is one of the main differences between prenups and postnups.

It might be possible for you and your spouse to use the same lawyer to create a postnuptial agreement, but we strongly discourage it. Instead, we recommend you and your spouse seek independent attorneys, which will help protect both parties and ensure that all the important issues get addressed.

You can also get a postnuptial agreement even if you already have a prenuptial agreement. The new agreement will replace the old one. So, if you and your spouse are no longer happy with the terms of your prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement may be a good solution.

RELATED: Who Gets the Dog in a Divorce? Understanding North Carolina Pet Custody Laws

No matter where you are in your marriage, it’s never wrong to think about protecting your assets. Married couples separate and divorce for all kinds of reasons, from infidelity to the spouses growing and changing as people over time. And signing a marital agreement, whether it’s a prenup or postnup, doesn’t mean your marriage is on shaky ground. In fact, working with your partner to create a marital agreement can spark some healthy conversations about finances and other practical matters.

Here are a few potential scenarios where a prenup or postnup can prove useful:

  • You or your spouse have children from previous marriages. When families blend, it can create legal complications down the road, so you may want to protect your child’s inheritance in case you die unexpectedly or the marriage ends. A prenup or postnup can protect your wishes and provide for your child’s future.
  • One of you acquires an inheritance and wants to keep it separate. Inheritances technically count as separate property in a divorce, but it’s very easy to lose that protection by commingling your inheritance with marital property. A prenup or postnup can clearly define an inheritance and make sure it stays with you in case the marriage ends.
  • One of you makes a financial decision the other doesn’t agree with. Let’s say your spouse prefers to make high-risk investments, and you’re not comfortable with the potential losses. In that case, a marital agreement can protect you from the fallout in case an investment goes bust.

What if My Spouse and I Already Plan to Separate?

If you and your spouse already know you want to separate or divorce and you don’t have a prenup or postnup in place, then you shouldn’t create a postnup now. Instead, you need a separation agreement.

A separation agreement is a document you and your spouse sign when you expect to separate within 30 days. Separation agreements aren’t limited like postnups — they can resolve all aspects of separation and divorce. If you and your spouse are on good enough terms to work out a separation agreement, then you can separate peacefully and minimize the amount of time and money spent.

If you have questions about prenuptial and postnuptial agreements or separation agreements, get in touch with an experienced family law attorney. Only an attorney can give you expert advice based on your unique circumstances.

Have Questions About Prenups and Postnups in North Carolina? Myers Law Firm Can Help

If you have questions about drafting a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement or about how an existing agreement will affect your divorce case, the team at Myers Law Firm is here to help. We can answer any questions you may have and address your issues with legal solutions tailored to your unique needs.

While we pride ourselves in handling divorce issues peaceably and with compassion, we won’t hesitate to fight aggressively to protect your rights. To schedule your initial consultation, please call our Charlotte office toll-free at 1-888-376-ATTY (2889) or contact us online by filling out our online contact form.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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Five Frequently Asked Questions About North Carolina Property Division

For many couples, dividing their assets and debts is one of the most difficult, confusing, and stressful parts of a divorce. Before you panic about losing your home, car, and family heirlooms, keep reading. In this article, we’ll answer five frequently asked questions about North Carolina property division that will help you understand the process and what’s involved.

1. What Does Equitable Distribution Mean in a Divorce Case?

Equitable distribution is the process of dividing marital and divisible property in court. In a perfect world, you and your spouse would negotiate the division of your marital property without a judge’s involvement. Of course, most spouses don’t divorce if they’re finding it easy to cooperate. If you can’t come to an agreement (which is not out of the ordinary), the court will schedule a hearing and divide your marital property using a theory of equitable distribution. Marital property includes both assets and debts.

Based on this theory, a judge will split your property 50-50 unless such a split would be inequitable or unfair. When a judge assesses the fairness of a split, they consider a series of factors, some of which are:

  • Each spouse’s income, debts, and property
  • How long the marriage lasted and each spouse’s age
  • Ways in which a spouse directly or indirectly contributed to the other’s educational and professional opportunities
  • A custodial parent’s need to occupy or own the marital home or other household items
  • Both spouses’ physical and mental health
  • Tax consequences related to the property division
  • Any other factors that are “just and proper”

Note that the court will not consider child support and alimony payments when dividing marital property.

2. What Is Marital Property and How Much Is It Worth?

For the purposes of property division, courts classify property into three categories:

Marital Property
This category includes any income, assets, property, and debts that you accumulated during the marriage. Marital property can include wages, pension and retirement funds, investment accounts, real estate, personal property, mortgages, car loans, and credit card bills.

Separate Property
Your spouse typically does not get a share of your separate property, which includes your pre-marriage assets and debts as well as gifts or inheritances that someone specifically gave to one spouse and not the other.

It’s important to note that separate property can transform into marital property if you commingle it, meaning mix it with marital assets. For example, if you use an inheritance to buy a jointly-titled asset, it might become marital property. If your spouse is trying to claim a share of your separate property, you should contact a lawyer immediately.

RELATED ARTICLE: How to Protect Gifts and Inheritances in a Divorce

Divisible Property
There’s always some time that passes between when spouses separate and when the court gets around to handling property distribution, and this category exists to deal with assets that the spouses receive during that period as well as assets that change in value during that period. Note that an asset that was earned before the date of separation will still count as divisible property if it’s received after separation.

Once you identify your marital and divisible property, you need to determine its value. Early on in your divorce, both spouses will need to complete an affidavit of equitable distribution that outlines their assets and the fair-market value of those assets as well as any debts. While some values are easy to set, valuing complicated assets like small businesses may require help from an expert.

To decide the value of items in an equitable distribution case, the judge will refer to the fair market value. The law defines fair market value as the price that a willing buyer would pay a willing seller for the item in question when neither is under a compulsion to buy or sell the property. The fair market value doesn’t mean what was paid for a specific item when it was initially bought five years ago (purchase price), nor does it mean the price someone would pay if they went out and bought the item new (replacement value).

3. Can a Prenuptial Agreement Protect My Assets?

Nuptial agreements can occur either before (prenuptial) or during a marriage (postnuptial). In a nuptial agreement, you and your spouse define which property is marital and which is separate. This can streamline your property division process if you divorce.

However, not every nuptial agreement is valid. You can dispute the validity of a nuptial agreement if you didn’t enter it voluntarily, if it was based on fraud or misrepresentations, or if it wasn’t properly signed.

RELATED ARTICLE: How Do Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements Affect Divorce?

Even if you don’t have a nuptial agreement, you can still negotiate a separation agreement, which is an out-of-court property settlement that divides marital and divisible property and identifies separate property. A separation agreement can also resolve child custody and support issues. However, keep in mind that once you enter a separation agreement, it will become legally binding and won’t be easy to change. You should always get advice from a lawyer before you enter a separation agreement.

4. Who Gets to Stay in Our House?

If you have minor or dependent children, the parent who has primary physical custody may get to stay in the marital home. However, that spouse will need to consider whether they can afford to pay the remaining mortgage and other costs before trying to stay in the house. Sometimes, the best option for both parties is to sell the marital home and divide the proceeds.

5. My Spouse’s Behavior Caused Our Divorce — Does That Impact Their Property Share?

Typically, North Carolina courts don’t consider fault when they divide your marital property. You won’t get a bigger share of property or get to keep the house because your spouse cheated on you, as an example.

However, your spouse’s misconduct might affect alimony and spousal support. For instance, North Carolina courts typically won’t grant alimony to a spouse who engaged in illicit sexual behavior (meaning they cheated or had an affair) during the marriage.

RELATED ARTICLE: How Does Alimony Work in North Carolina?

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Myers Law Firm: Experienced Divorce Lawyers for Clients in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County

If you’re considering a separation or your spouse recently filed for divorce, you need to understand your legal options. At Myers Law Firm, our respected divorce lawyers can help guide you through difficult family law issues with compassion and make sure your rights are protected. To schedule your initial consultation, fill out our quick and easy online contact form or call us at 888-376-2889. We’re here if you need help.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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Warriors and Warbirds

Each Memorial Day has a special significance at Myers Law Firm thanks to our founding attorney Lee Myers’ work with the group Warriors and Warbirds.

Warriors and Warbirds is a Monroe, North Carolina-based nonprofit, all-volunteer group that works to preserve aviation history, educate communities, and keep alive the memories of those American veterans who gave their lives in service to their country. Through his work with the group, Lee maintains a connection with aviation history and our armed forces that extends back to the 1940s.

A Brief History of Lee’s Work with Warriors and Warbirds


Tinker Belle Airplane

Attorney Lee Myers began working with Warriors and Warbirds in 2010 after concluding his tenure as mayor of the town of Matthews. A longtime pilot himself, Lee discovered the group by word of mouth and, after meeting them, felt drawn to the aviation expertise and respect for history he saw. He started volunteering with Warriors and Warbirds on a regular basis, helping the group to put on its annual airshow at the Monroe Airport and occasionally drawing on his legal and political experience to offer advice.

In 2012, Warriors and Warbirds took on a new dimension when the group, with Lee now serving on its board of directors, acquired a one-of-a-kind piece of aviation history: a 1944 Curtiss C-46 Commando transport aircraft, which acquired the affectionate nickname “Tinker Belle.” Previously, the aircraft had spent nearly a decade sitting neglected and exposed to the elements in Texas, but the group set about restoring her and getting her ready to fly again.

Tinker Belle’s name is a wink-and-nudge play on its size: at the time of its production, the C-46 was the biggest twin-engine aircraft in the world, and it was also the largest and heaviest twin-engine plane to see service in World War II. Lee Myers had the privilege of flying Tinker Belle himself, allowing him the rare chance to step back through time to a golden era of aviation history.

“Tinker Belle is a very unique airplane to fly,” Lee says. “She’s a tail-dragger, and she has the largest footprint of any tail-dragging aircraft flying today, meaning she’s really special. There are larger planes out there, but they’re not tail-draggers — or they’re no longer flying.”

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Connecting with Living History

One of Lee’s fondest memories from his time with Warriors and Warbirds came when he met a World War II veteran and C-46 pilot named Jeb Stewart at an event featuring Tinker Belle in Greenwood, South Carolina. Jeb, who was 92 at the time, approached Lee to tell him about his own intimate relationship with the C-46 and its storied history.

“Jeb came up to me and he said, ‘I want you to know that in World War II, I flew the C-46. I was a pilot flying over the Himalayas,’” Lee recalls. “I said, ‘You’re kidding me!’ That was a great meeting, and Jeb came up to some of our events and talked to people, and he would even sit in the cockpit.”

WBTV in Charlotte later aired a story on this chance meeting, as shown in the YouTube clip above.

Jeb and Lee stayed in contact from that day until Jeb’s passing three years later. Lee says he is continually grateful for the chance to meet Jeb and bond over their shared connection to the C-46 aircraft.

“It’s just a great story of the people you meet doing this kind of work,” Lee says.

Warriors and Warbirds Today


Today, Warriors and Warbirds continues to maintain Tinker Belle along with a second World War II-era craft, a Fairchild C-123 Provider named Ponderous Polly. The group also continues to hold its annual Warbirds Over Monroe air show, which takes place in November and attracts tens of thousands of aviation enthusiasts and curious visitors over two days.

In addition to dropping pararoopers (who sport full, historically-accurate equipment) each year at Warbirds Over Monroe, Tinker Belle also travels to perform fly-ins at other airshows like the Reading Air Fest in Pennsylvania and AirVenture Oshkosh in Wisconsin. When not maintaining and flying historic planes, the group works to put on various events for the community, including combination pancake breakfasts and safety seminars for area pilots and their families.

“I think we’re giving tribute to the men, women, and equipment that played a part in World War II,” Lee says of the group’s work. “We’re losing World War II veterans every day due to age, and they’re becoming more and more special to us.”

Equally important to preserving these veterans’ legacy, though, is the process of educating people of all ages about World War II and its aviation history, which is why the group also works to put on events aimed at young audiences, including hosting field trips from local schools.

“It’s not just about the past,” Lee says. “We’re also looking at our kids today and letting young people know about this history and why it matters.”

Myers Law Firm Salutes Our Fallen Veterans on Memorial Day

On behalf of every member of the Myers Law Firm team, we wish to offer our thanks for the service and sacrifices of every U.S. armed forces veteran, whether from World War II or beyond. We also extend our deepest gratitude to those soldiers, pilots, and other servicemembers who gave their lives protecting our country, and we offer our condolences to their families and friends.

Although Memorial Day means a long weekend of leisure for many people, please remember the incredible sacrifices our veterans and fallen soldiers have made to ensure our security and safety, and think about what you can do to pay tribute to them at this special time of year.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Contact Myers Law Firm

We are committed to continuing to serve our clients’ legal needs

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We are able to meet with clients and hold consultations with prospective clients via telephone or video conference. If you need to contact us, please do not hesitate; we are happy to speak with you about your situation, your needs, and how we can help.

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Pre-Existing Conditions

Many discussions about personal injury claims start with the assumption that the victim was in a state of flawless health before their accident. In real life, however, this is rarely true; most people deal with all sorts of health conditions at various points in their lives, some major and some minor. So what impact do pre-existing conditions have on personal injury claims and the compensation victims receive?

In general, the victim in a personal injury case isn’t entitled to receive payment for injuries and conditions that are unaffected by an accident. They are, however, entitled to receive compensation for pre-existing conditions to the degree that the accident made them worse. This is known as exacerbation or aggravation of pre-existing conditions, and victims may be able to receive compensation not only for physical ailments and injuries, but also mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.

The importance of determining the severity of a pre-existing condition before and after an accident means that in any personal injury case, the injured party will inevitably face questions from the other side about their past injuries or health conditions. Your attorney will try to establish the degree to which the accident worsened any conditions or injuries you had beforehand, while the insurance company will always try to blame everything on any pre-existing problem they can find, no matter how minor or unrelated.


Don’t Let a Pre-Existing Condition Discourage You

You should never feel discouraged from pursuing compensation for your injuries just because of a pre-existing condition. In many cases, an injury victim who has received regular medical treatment will have an easier time producing concrete evidence of their medical history compared to someone who hasn’t seen a doctor in 10 years (which is yet another reason why even people who feel perfectly healthy should consider receiving regular check-ups).

The compensation you may be eligible to receive for the aggravation of a pre-existing condition will depend on establishing the severity of that condition and how it affected your life before the accident. Detailed and complete medical records regarding your previous conditions are thus a critical asset in a personal injury claim.

RELATED: Here’s What You Should Expect In A Personal Injury Deposition

As you might imagine, though, insurance companies (who are looking to pay you as little as possible) will often try to search through your medical history for any possible evidence that would suggest the accident has had minimal effects on your health. As a result, it’s important for you to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you and then go over your complete medical history, including any pre-existing conditions, with your them at the beginning of the case.

When you discuss your case and your medical history with your attorney, remember that it’s absolutely critical for you to hold nothing back. Let your attorney decide how to handle any information that might seem to complicate your claim rather than keeping such details to yourself. Failing to disclose or forgetting about a pre-existing condition could damage your credibility, jeopardize your claim, and even expose you to legal action if the defense finds out about your omission.

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“The Eggshell Skull Rule” or “Take Your Victim as You Find Him”

One important legal concept that applies to pre-existing conditions in personal injury cases has a rather unusual name: it’s often called the “eggshell skull rule” (although it’s also known under a few other names, including the “take your victim as you find him” rule). In general, this rule applies to all personal injury claims, and it states that the relative frailty of the injury victim is not a valid defense against a claim.

The rule’s name comes from an imaginary case that illustrates the core concept: Imagine a person who injured someone else, unaware that the victim’s skull was as thin as an eggshell. Obviously, such a condition would leave that person extremely susceptible to injury. According to the “eggshell skull rule,” the defendant is liable for all damages that stem from their wrongful actions, even though they had no idea about the victim’s condition and even though that condition played a role in the severity of the resulting injuries.

The most important takeaway from this rule is that no victim should hesitate to contact an attorney if they were injured due to someone else’s negligence, regardless of the state of their health before the accident.


Contact Myers Law Firm If You've Been Injured

If you or a loved one has been injured due to someone else’s negligent actions, Myers Law Firm is here to help with aggressive, dedicated legal advocacy. When you choose us to represent you, we’ll put our years of experience and familiarity with local courts to work for you, and we’ll fight relentlessly on your behalf until your case reaches a resolution.

Call our offices today at 888-376-2889 or fill out the contact form on our website to schedule your free consultation with us. We will use this time to get to know you, learn about your case, and inform you about your legal options so you can go forward with confidence.


Happy Thanksgiving

We hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving holiday! For those of you who will be traveling, please be safe.

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Contact Myers Law Firm

We are committed to continuing to serve our clients’ legal needs

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We are able to meet with clients and hold consultations with prospective clients via telephone or video conference. If you need to contact us, please do not hesitate; we are happy to speak with you about your situation, your needs, and how we can help.

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