A couple planning a wedding should consider planning for the legal issues of marriage. This often includes merging financial assets, creating wills and power of attorney documents, and for many, a prenuptial agreement.
In 1986, Virginia enacted the Premarital Agreement Act, which allows marrying parties to enter into agreements regarding their “real or personal property, including income and earnings.” Agreements under this law are also referred to as prenuptial agreements. Often, the goal of such an agreement is to reduce the potential for conflict and unnecessary financial burden in the event of divorce. By defining what will happen with asset division and spousal support in advance of marriage couples have the opportunity to consider the financial and legal ramifications of marriage before saying “I do.’”
What Can Be Included In a Premarital Agreement?
Virginia law requires a prenuptial agreement to be voluntary, in writing, and signed by both parties. It also establishes certain requirements for the content of such agreements and requires disclosure of property and financial obligations prior to marriage in order to be enforceable.
In creating your premarital agreement, Virginia law allows couples to address a broad spectrum of issues. The most common concerns addressed in a premarital agreement are:
- Rights regarding the property of one or both parties
- The disposition of property, upon separation, divorce, death, or other circumstance or conditions defined by the parties
- Spousal support, and whether support will be waived
In practice, the only matters that cannot be included are agreements that would violate public policy or a criminal law. A marrying couple has very wide latitude to define and reach agreement on the issues that will be most important to building a secure foundation for their marriage.
Can a Prenuptial Agreement Be Changed After Marriage?
After marriage, a premarital agreement may be amended or revoked only by a written agreement signed by both parties. Under Virginia law, married couples may enter into agreements with each other regarding their marital assets and obligations in the same way and to the same extent as prospective spouses.
Contact a Knowledgeable Virginia Premarital Prenuptial Attorney
To schedule an initial consultation with an experienced Virginia family law attorney who can assist you in negotiating and drafting a sound premarital agreement, please contact our offices at (571) 328-5020 or request a consultation.