No one gets married assuming the marriage will end in divorce at some point in the future. Virginia couples often forgo the opportunity to draft a prenuptial agreement because they assume their marriage will last or they do not have the wealth or assets to necessitate this type of legal protection. In reality, these agreements can benefit everyone, regardless of income level and economic status.
If you did not draft a prenuptial agreement before marriage, you still have options available to you. You may want to consider the benefits of a postnuptial agreement. This is a marital contract that offers you protection in case of a divorce in the future. Taking this step is not assuming your marriage will end, but it is simply having things prepared in case of any contingencies.
What is it?
A prenuptial agreement is a contract that outlines how the division of marital property will work in case of a divorce. It can also specify which assets are separate and what financial responsibilities each spouse will have over the course of the marriage. Postnuptial agreements operate in the same way except you draft it after a marriage takes place. It is especially important with this type of contract to make sure the terms you include are valid and enforceable.
Who needs it?
These contracts are beneficial for virtually any couple, even if they do not think they are wealthy or have assets worth protecting. For many, this is simply a way to clarify things and make a potential property division process easier. Marital contracts are particularly popular for wealthy couples or those with closely held assets, such as a small business.
You may want to consider the benefits of this type of agreement if you inherited a significant amount of money or either spouse became significantly wealthier than they were at the time of the wedding. This may also be a beneficial legal protection for couples who start a business or have children from previous marriages they want to protect.
Where should you start?
The terms of a postnuptial agreement are important. These agreements can come under scrutiny, and it can be problematic if there are issues with the drafting or initial signing of the document. This is why it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney to ensure that your agreement will withstand the test of time and provide you with protection well into the future.