What Can Be Included In A Virginia Premarital Agreement?
Family law planning should be an important consideration for anyone considering marriage. While we all intend to live happy, long lives with our partners, sometimes even the best laid plans do not work out as intended. In these situations, long and costly divorce proceedings may be avoided with some skillful planning aided by an experienced Leesburg family law attorney.
Premarital agreements help to address such situations by spelling out which party may be entitled to what and when following the dissolution of a marriage. Although divorce may be a tumultuous time, having an agreement in place can help make the process expedient and civil.
Virginia Premarital Agreement Act
In 1985, the Commonwealth of Virginia passed the Premarital Agreement Act to allow couples considering divorce an opportunity to allocate marital property and spousal support upon dissolution of marriage. Under The Act, any such agreements must be made in writing and become enforceable upon marriage.
Parties considering premarital agreements are strongly encouraged to do so with the aid of an experienced attorney to ensure fairness of the agreement and proper disclosure of finances. This is important because there are certain situations where premarital agreements may be voided should the arrangement be made in bad faith.
Content of premarital agreements
Premarital agreements may cover a wide range of considerations. The Premarital Agreement Act allows couples to contract with respect to:
- Rights and obligations of property;
- Right to buy, sell, and transfer property;
- Dividing property upon dissolution of marriage;
- Allocation of spousal support (alimony);
- Creating wills and trusts; and/or
- Ownerships and rights of death benefits from life insurance policies.
Can premarital agreements be voided or amended?
While couples are generally given great leeway when crafting their agreements, certain conditions must be met in order for courts to hold premarital agreements are enforceable.. Situations that may result in Virginia courts finding premarital agreements unenforceable include:
- Either party did not voluntarily execute the agreement;
- Either party did not fully disclose his or her complete finances; or
- The agreement was unconscionable, i.e. not right or reasonable.
The issue unconscionability as it pertains to premarital agreements can only be decided by the courts. While the agreement may otherwise be sound, it is not uncommon for one party to allege impropriety in the crafting of any such agreement.
Premarital agreements may also be amended during the course of a marriage. As circumstances of the marriage change, parties may feel the premarital agreement should likewise evolve and may do so with written consent. The agreement may also be revoked at any time, so long as is agreed to by both parties in writing.
Leesburg Premarital Agreement Attorneys
The Leesburg premarital agreement attorneys of Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy, PC have extensive experience crafting premarital agreements to help couples plan for their futures. Crafting such agreements should be given the due diligence and consideration it deserves and our attorneys are fully prepared to help ensure this takes place.
For a consultation about your premarital agreement, contact our office. Our experienced family law attorneys serve clients in Leesburg, Loudoun County, and Fairfax County.