Many spouses-to-be in Virginia may be planning eagerly for their weddings and thinking about venues, dresses and honeymoons. However, experts would also advise them to think about prenuptial agreements. Prenups have a bad name for many people who associate them with planning for divorce before the marriage even begins. Many people also associate prenuptial agreements with greed and a selfish approach that is incompatible with marriage. However, these views of prenuptial agreements derived from media coverage of celebrity divorces and dramatic fiction often diverge from the reality.
In fact, prenuptial agreements aren’t only for extremely wealthy people, celebrities or those with large family fortunes. Instead, people in all income brackets could benefit from a prenup, especially if they have major concerns about debt or real estate. Prenups aren’t only about distribution of property upon divorce; they’re actually a way to begin estate planning early, especially when it comes to the distribution of property to children in case of one spouse’s death. This kind of prenup can be particularly important for blended families in which both partners are entering the marriage with children.
In order for a prenup to be considered enforceable, its provisions have to be reasonable and fair. Both parties should have lawyers throughout the process, so if one party was unrepresented, a judge could throw the agreement out entirely. In addition, agreements can’t hurt other parties; for example, it’s generally not possible to waive child support obligations as part of a prenup because support is for the child, not a party to the agreement.
When people are thinking about marriage, it can also be time to think about prenuptial agreements. A family law attorney may work with a spouse-to-be to develop a prenup that reflects key priorities and negotiate with the other spouse’s lawyer to finalize a document based on mutual agreement.