Before the “I do’s” and after wedding preparations begin, many Virginia couples may discuss the possibility of executing a prenuptial agreement. One of the primary intents of such an agreement is to decide issues regarding marital property division in the event of a divorce. The problem is that all their work could be for nothing if certain mistakes are made when the document is drafted and signed.

For instance, full disclosure of all assets, debts and financial issues needs to take place between the parties. If it is later discovered that one party failed to reveal everything, then the lack of full disclosure could invalidate part or all of the agreement. By not disclosing all information, the parties may have to start from scratch during the divorce process.

It is best practice to ensure that each party must have the opportunity to fully read and understand the prenup prior to signing it. Not only does this mean that a party may review the agreement with an attorney, which is strongly advised, but it also means that the parties must have enough time to do so. Neither party should be required to digest and sign such an agreement one the eve of their wedding day. These and other errors and oversights could mean that a Virginia judge will rule the prenuptial agreement invalid.

If a couple wants to make sure that its marital property division will follow a prenuptial agreement in the event of a divorce, they will need to make sure that the prenuptial agreement complies with all laws, and include either a full disclosure of property rights and liabilities or contain a specific and express waiver to the disclosure.  It is also vital that the parties execute the prenup in accordance with current law. It is strongly recommended that each party work with a family law attorney in order to create a document that will stand up to a court’s scrutiny if it is ever needed.