A Premarital Agreement, also known as a prenuptial agreement ("Prenup" for short), is a written contract created by two people before they are married (Marital Agreements are essentially the same but are entered into after the date of marriage). Prenups are recognized and enforceable by statute in Virginia. A Prenup typically lists all of the property each person owns (as well as any debts) and specifies what each person's property rights will be after the marriage and in the event of a divorce. In addition, Prenups can address the right of one spouse to receive spousal support from the other in the event of a divorce and determine certain estate rights in the event of the death of one spouse.
The only issue which is difficult to address in Prenups is that of custody and visitation of children be they already born or those which the couple hopes to have after the marriage. Such terms are essentially unenforceable in the event of a future divorce.
While Prenups are typically associated with wealthy people, they serve the needs of people from many socio-economic backgrounds. For example, people from middle class backgrounds may want one to protect their assets for their children from a previous marriage. Couples may simply want to clarify their financial rights during marriage. These contracts can also offer some protection for one spouse from another spouse’s debt.
Whatever the reason, Prenups can offer security to those contemplating marriage, definition of certain financial arrangements for those already married and, perhaps most importantly, a far less contentious and costly process in the event of divorce.
The MichieHamlett attorneys can help you work through these issues, and ensure that you are properly protected.