In the past, many Virginia couples felt that prenuptial agreements were only necessary for those with substantial amounts of family wealth or high-profile celebrities. However, more and more engaged partners have been won over to the option of deciding in advance how their assets may be divided in a divorce or separation. In fact, many who have already married without a prenup are looking for alternatives. A postnuptial agreement can be particularly important for people with privately-held businesses or family inheritances.

Some people may shy away from a postnup, because it seems like an indication of problems in the marriage or a prediction of divorce. Nevertheless, there can be excellent practical reasons to pursue this kind of contract even in a happy relationship. For example, one partner might be anticipating a significant inheritance from their family. While the family might want to keep those assets in the family and protect them from divorce, the spouse might want to share them with their partner. A postnuptial agreement could specifically exclude the inherited property from any future divorce settlement, providing reassurance to the family.

Startup founders may also want to consider a postnup. Knowing the harm that a significant divorce settlement can cause to a privately held company, investors may be wary of putting funds into a company that’s not protected from a potential split. Founders may enhance the viability of their firm by having this type of agreement on record.

There are many good reasons why soon-to-be exes will want to make their own plans for how to handle property division in advance. A family law attorney could provide guidance on negotiating a fair prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.