What to Include in a Virginia Postnuptial Agreement
Postnuptial agreements are agreements between spouses that occur after the marriage has already taken place. And, in some cases, the provisions set forth in a postnuptial agreement provide a more favorable outcome than those in a prenuptial agreement. If you are considering either a prenup or postnuptial agreement, it’s important to speak with skilled Virginia family law attorney. Here’s a look at some important elements to include in your postnuptial agreement.
A postnuptial agreement should include some standard disclosures. Each spouse needs to present a full disclosure of their current financial situation, including assets and liabilities. This means you need to be honest of your assets, including real estate, personal property, insurance policies, retirement accounts, etc. In addition, you need to disclose all liabilities like lines of credit, mortgage loans, credit card payments, and any other financial obligations.
Income disclosure is also part of the postnuptial agreement, which is typically calculated for the previous two years.
It’s important to define a number of topics that are part of the marital agreement. You need to define what is separate and what is classified as marital property. This can help divide assets without a lengthy battle in court in the event of a divorce. If one spouse opts to stay at home to raise the children and forgoes a career outside the home, the agreement can define what support this spouse will receive during the marriage, and what he or she would receive in the event of a divorce.
Statement of Intent
In addition to discussing specific topics like assets and liabilities, it is wise to include a statement that discusses why the postnuptial agreement was drafted in the first place. This can help preserve the reasons why the agreement was initially drafted. Was it to address the terms of a reconciliation or because one spouse might be in financial trouble? Sometimes a couple might enter into a postnuptial agreement because one spouse got into trouble for issues related to gambling, drug addiction, or even embezzling money. The other spouse doesn’t want to be held responsible, so they can create a postnuptial agreement to discuss how the matter will be handled.
If anyone ever questions the validity of the postnuptial agreement, having a statement of intent could be helpful to the court.
Opportunity for Review by Separate Counsel
If you draft a postnuptial agreement, both spouses are entitled to have an opportunity to review the specified terms. They also have the right to have independent counsel review the agreement prior to any signatures. If one spouse tries to pressure the other into signing without reviewing, there is a good chance the court would not find the agreement enforceable.
Retaining a Virginia Family Law Attorney
If you need to have either a prenup or a postnuptial agreement drafted, retaining a Virginia family law attorney can help ensure your agreement addresses every topic you require while ensuring it complies with federal and state laws. Contact Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC at 703-997-4982 to schedule a consultation.