If you are one of the many Virginia residents who is getting married this year or in the near future, you probably have a lot on your plate. While planning a wedding can be fun and exciting, it can also be stressful and time-consuming. During this crazy time in your life, protecting yourself in the event your marriage does not work out is probably not high on your priority list. However, taking the time to create a prenuptial agreement that does just that would be time well spent.
There is a misconception that these marital contracts are only for the wealthy. The simple truth is, any couple, regardless of economic status, can benefit from having them in their legal arsenal. You never know how your marriage will play out. It is okay to want to protect yourself, your assets and, if applicable, any children you have from previous relationships.
What might a prenuptial agreement include?
Marital contracts can be extremely detailed if that is what you want. It can include the following information:
- Documentation of separate assets
- Marital property division terms
- Details of special arrangements or agreements made between spouses
- Acceptable dispute resolution methods
- Assignment of marital debt
Most people use prenuptial agreements to protect business interests, ensure children are financially protected and pre-set divorce terms. There are those who wish to go beyond divorce-related terms and include information about what each spouse expects of the other during the marriage. Prenuptial agreements are not for this. They are meant to address financially based issues and nothing more.
Why do people avoid getting prenuptial agreements?
There are several reasons people avoid obtaining marital contracts. Some of them include:
- They are unromantic
- Validity may come into question
- They cannot include personal preferences
- They do not address child support and custody issues
Couples who pursue prenuptial agreements understand that these contracts are just a safety net should their marriages fail. The hope is that you will never need to use it. It is better to get one and protect oneself rather than roll the dice, hoping the marriage will thrive.
When to get this type of contract?
Couples can obtain prenuptial agreements at any point before they walk down the aisle. However, courts may question their validity if signed just before one's wedding.
If you wish to create a prenuptial agreement or your soon-to-be spouse asks you to sign one, legal counsel can help you ensure the terms are appropriate for your needs and that they meet state standards. Your attorney can also make sure the creation and signing of the document is at an opportune time as to, hopefully, avoid questions regarding the contract's validity.