Prenuptial Agreements and LGBT Couples
Since the Supreme Court decision that extended marriage rights to LGBT citizens in the United States, record numbers of gay and lesbian couples have been tying the proverbial knot. However, LGBT marriage becoming a reality means that LGBT divorce will be a reality as well, and divorce is something that many LGBT couples have no good idea of how to deal with just like any other couple. Just as in heterosexual couples, prenuptial agreements can help to protect both partners in a marriage, and an LGBT prenup lawyer can help you to create one.
A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people which is drawn up before marriage with the help of an LGBT prenup attorney. In it, a guideline is set for what happens during the marriage, and what will happen in the case of a divorce or death. With the help of an LGBT prenuptial agreement lawyer, you can draw up an agreement which will protect yourself, your spouse, your business, and any children. Many people may become nervous when they hear the word prenup, but any LGBT prenup agreement attorney in North Carolina can tell you that there is nothing scary about these agreements; in fact, they can be written by both partners in a marriage to ensure that everyone is happy with its stipulations, and may be written to benefit a partner who is less privileged.
LGBT Marriage Without a Prenup – Tips from Your LGBT Prenup Attorney in North Carolina
Without an agreement drawn up with the help of a North Carolina LGBT prenup lawyer, any couple going through a divorce – gay, lesbian, or straight – must follow the same rules in their divorce. Some of these stipulations include:
- All debts and assets which were gained during the marriage are divided more or less equally between the couple.
- All debts and assets owned prior to the marriage stay in possession of that person.
- A form of spousal support (such as alimony) is considered and calculated, based on various factors including the length of the marriage, and the capability of each partner to make a living.
All of the listed factors take effect on the day a couple is married. Anything occurring before that date is considered legally to be non-marital, even though the couple, like many LGBT couples before the Supreme Court decision, may have been happily living with each other for a long time. This is one area that, as LGBT prenuptial agreement lawyers, we find particularly of interest to LGBT couples.
For example, if a couple lives together prior to marriage, most likely the home belongs to one of them, and only one. In the case of a divorce, this partner would retain the home, all of his or her income, all assets, and all retirement savings before the marriage began, while the other partner may be left with comparatively little. With the help of an LGBT prenup attorney in North Carolina, on the other hand, this situation could be rectified.
In addition, since LGBT marriages are a comparatively new form of marriage in this country, many couples who have been together for decades, but only married for a few years, may run into trouble with spousal support in the event of a divorce. Even though one partner may have financially relied upon the other for the length of the relationship, if the marriage is short, that partner may not be able to receive any alimony at all.
How a North Carolina LGBT Prenup Lawyer Can Help
By preparing a prenuptial agreement with the help of an LGBT prenup attorney before you get married, you can ensure that the time spent living together is not neglected by the law. You will be able to come to an agreement for spousal support and determine precisely what assets should be considered marital property. An LGBT prenup lawyer can help you both protect the things you value and the interests you have that may otherwise fall through the cracks, including businesses and intellectual property, and non-liquid assets like brokerage accounts.
Legally, a couple cannot inform a court to consider them as being married during a period prior to their wedding, even if both parties agree this should be the case. However, an LGBT prenup attorney can help ensure that your long-term relationship is given the value it deserves by way of a prenuptial agreement.
Timing in Prenuptial Agreements – Tips from Your LGBT Prenup Lawyer
While we (as well as you) would prefer for every couple to stay together forever, divorces do occur, and partners do die. For this reason, in order to ensure the best possible outcome for any eventuality, it is vital that you meet with an LGBT prenup lawyer in North Carolina before your wedding day. Prenuptial agreements are only valid if they are signed before you are married. Once vows have been exchanged, then estate planning may be able to assist in helping in the event of a partner’s death, but will not be able to ensure financial stability in the event of a divorce.
What Happens if an LGBT Couple in North Carolina Doesn’t Have a Prenuptial Agreement?
The precise answer to this question varies from state to state, but here in North Carolina, liabilities and assets obtained during the course of the marriage are split between the couple somewhat equally, as mentioned. In addition, anything obtained before the marriage, even if they were obtained during the course of your relationship, will be considered the sole property of the purchaser.
You and your partner may communicate very well and may have clear ideas of how goods would be divided in the event of a divorce. However, in reality, when you go through a divorce, without a prenuptial agreement it can be a challenge to determine which property was obtained during the marriage, and which were obtained before. Most of us don’t keep meticulous records of every purchase and every agreement, and even the most amicable of divorces can become quite messy if the division of assets is left to the courts and the law to decide. A prenuptial agreement can help to ensure that this will not be the case for you, so before you tie the knot, speak to an experienced LGBT prenuptial agreement lawyer.
If you are already married, then an LGBT prenup lawyer may be able to help you develop a postnuptial agreement, but prenuptial agreements are much stronger legally, so if you are not yet married, don’t wait.
Are LGBT Prenuptial Agreements Treated the Same as in Heterosexual Marriages?
Prenups for LGBT couples were not always treated fairly. Before the landmark Supreme Court decision which legalized LGBT marriage nationwide, states with statewide LGBT marriage equality sometimes had trouble with prenuptial agreements, particularly if a couple moved.
For instance, if a couple moved to Indiana, the state would refuse to recognize that the marriage was valid, and thus would refused to recognize the validity of the prenuptial agreement, regardless of how correctly the LGBT prenup lawyer performed his or her job, and even if the prenup was perfectly legal in the state in which it was signed.
Today, thankfully, this is no longer the case, so the agreement that you and your LGBT prenup lawyer draw up is legally required to be valid in all 50 states. LGBT couples have the same marriage rights today as anyone, and that includes having the right to work with LGBT prenuptial agreement lawyers to create legally binding prenups which are valid nationwide.
Why Prenuptial Agreements Are Important for LGBT Couples in North Carolina
Since LGBT couples still are the target of discrimination and can face legally gray areas regarding other areas of civil rights, as LGBT prenup agreement attorneys, we urge you to create sound and thorough prenuptial agreements for several reasons.
First of all, it is common for LGBT couples to marry later in life than heterosexual couples. Since LGBT marriage has only been legal nationwide since 2015, many of these marriages are still in their “honeymoon” stage, despite the couple in question have been together for many years.
In addition, LGBT couples may also wait to marry because of the reality that they may face discrimination, despite the legality of the marriage. They postpone coming out and avoid making a public display of their relationships, due to fear of social repercussions.
As previously mentioned, shared bank accounts, joint purchases, and other financial decisions made together, but before marriage, will not be considered to be marital property. In addition, the unfortunate reality that discrimination is still a very real part of an LGBT couple’s life means that the question of ownership of assets and property may be very difficult to determine without the clear legal guidance that a prenuptial agreement represents.
Finally, the major benefit of prenuptial agreements, in addition to providing protection in the event of death or divorce, is that it forces a couple to sit and talk honestly about these financial aspects of their life and relationship. The decision to have a joint bank account, to share an inheritance, to agree to a certain amount of financial support whatever the outcome of the relationship may be, the discussion of how to handle debt – all of these conversations are tedious, perhaps even unpleasant, but are important for any couple to have.
Consult a North Carolina LGBT Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer Today
As LGBT prenup lawyers, we sort of think pre-nuptials are romantic. After all, there is no clearer way to state that you are committed to avoiding future conflicts than to sit down and hash out the details along with an LGBT prenup lawyer. By showing to each other that you are willing to have tough conversations, you can build a strong and sturdy foundation for a stable marriage. As North Carolina LGBT prenup agreement attorneys, we hope you never have to invoke the agreement you draw up with us – but the act of doing so will not only ensure your futures are protected, it will strengthen your relationship today.
To get started on your own prenup, contact an LGBT prenup lawyer as soon as possible.