Post-Nuptial Agreements in Virginia
Almost everyone has heard of a prenuptial agreement (or prenup): a contract that fiancés enter into before they get married and which becomes valid upon the marriage taking place. Prenups are generally valid so long as a court does not find that it was unconscionable at the time or that one individual was forced to sign. Post-nuptial agreements are similar except that a post-nup is entered into after spouses are officially married and becomes effective upon the execution of the contract. Post-nuptial agreements are not as common as prenups. However, they are appropriate in certain situations. To learn more about whether an agreement is right for you and your spouse, contact the Leesburg family law attorneys at our firm today.
Virginia Law Regarding Post-Nuptial Agreements
Virginia Code §20-155 allows post-nuptial agreements. These contracts can include the same types of provisions as prenups. The major difference between a prenup and a post-nup is that a prenup becomes effective upon the marriage while a post-nup becomes effective upon the execution of the agreement.
Post-nuptials usually must follow the same formation requirements as a prenup, meaning they must be:
- Between you and your spouse
- In writing
- Signed by both you and your spouse
The exception to this rule is that post-nuptial agreements can be formed without a separate writing if the agreement is 1) within a court order endorsed by you and your spouse or your attorneys or 2) recorded and transcribed by a court reporter and affirmed by you and your spouse on the record.
When a Post-Nuptial May be a Good Idea
If your and your spouse’s lives have not drastically changed since you were married, there may be little reason for a post-nuptial agreement. The need for an agreement as to how you would handle your assets and liabilities in the event of a divorce usually comes up when your financial or personal situation advances. Here are some common circumstances that may lead to a post-nup:
- You or your spouse form a business and want to keep this entity, its profits, and its losses separate from your marital assets.
- You or your spouse become part of a business that requires post-nuptial agreements to keep the business separate from your personal or marital assets.
- You or your spouse will inherit a great deal of money or property and want to dictate how it will be treated.
- You or your spouse are required to enter into a post-nuptial agreement before a family member will name you or your spouse as a beneficiary of his or her will.
- You or your spouse parented a child outside of the marriage but agree that a portion of the marital estate should go to the child upon the parent’s passing.
- You and your spouse wish to separate yet remain married and the agreement lays out the division of your assets, incomes, and debts while you live apart.
- You and/or your spouse have had lucrative careers and would rather determine how to would divide the marital estate upon a divorce than allow Virginia law to rule.
Contact Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC About Post-Nuptial Agreements
There are many reasons why you and your spouse are interested in forming an agreement after you are married. If you are interested in a post-nup, both you and your spouse should work with an experienced family law attorney. At Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC in Virginia, we can help you negotiate an agreement with your spouse and ensure your agreement is translated into a precise, easy to read contract. Call us today at 703-997-4982 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation.