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Virginia law on prenuptial agreements


Many residents of Virginia have mixed feelings about prenuptial agreements. Many find them to be unromantic, as if they signal the potential end of a marriage. Yet, everyone needs to understand that there is no guarantee that a marriage will last for an entire lifetime. Therefore, it is important to plan for the future in case a marriage breaks down.

What is a prenuptial agreement? A prenuptial agreement, otherwise known as a premarital agreement, is an agreement that couples make before they get married and goes into effect when they get married. This premarital agreement must be signed by both the partners and is designed to protect assets, and it shall be enforced without any other considerations.

A prenuptial agreement outlines the rights and obligations for each party in respect to property acquired during marriage. Property, as defined in the prenuptial agreement, means both real estate and the personal earnings of the couple. The premarital agreement will also spell out in great detail the rights of each partner with respect to buying, selling, exchanging and mortgaging property. It discusses what will happen to the property in the event of a divorce, death or separation. The prenuptial agreement also highlights the death benefits from an insurance policy and the alimony that a partner is entitled to receive.

However, a prenuptial agreement cannot be enforced if a partner can prove that she or he was forced to sign it, or if that person did not have a clear view of the property agreements of the other before signing it. A premarital agreement can be amended after marriage only after a written agreement has been signed by the parties.

Source: State.VA.us, "Code of Virginia," accessed on Nov.24, 2014

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