Pursuing a divorce is one of the most life-changing decisions a couple can make. The consequences linger for a lifetime…
Reasons for Creating a Prenuptial Agreement
In 1985, the Virginia Premarital Agreement Act became law, allowing couples in the state to enter into prenuptial agreements. There’s a common misconception that prenups are reserved for the rich and famous, but it’s an agreement every couple should consider. Review the benefits of creating a prenuptial agreement and important considerations you must make to determine if this is the right choice for your marriage.
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Discussing a Prenup with Your Fiancée
Many engaged people fear that asking their fiancée for a prenuptial agreement will cause relationship turmoil. However, the opposite is often true. After all, finances rank high on the list of potential irreconcilable differences that could lead to a divorce. You shouldn’t fear discussing financial matters ahead of time because getting everything out in the open can help prevent arguments in the future.
If your fiancée gives you flack for suggesting a prenuptial agreement, bring up the fact that you want to be on the same page from the very beginning so issues don’t pop up that could cause a disagreement. Besides, discussing finances as an engaged couple nurtures healthy communication once you’re married.
Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement
Even if you have little-to-no investments, minimal personal property, and a minor disposable income, a prenuptial agreement can still be worthwhile because it decreases the costs and conflicts associated with a potential divorce. Creating a prenup gives you the opportunity to:
- Document the individual property (businesses, retirement funds, real estate, etc.) that each person brings into the marriage.
- Decide how you’ll divide the marital assets you purchase together (cars, homes, pets, etc.) in case of divorce.
- Assign credit card debt, student loans, and mortgage payments to the appropriate spouse to avoid inappropriate debt liability.
- Document and detail special arrangements between you and your spouse.
- Establish rules and procedures for financial circumstances that may arise in the future.
- Reduce conflicts and extended court proceedings during a divorce, which can be time-consuming and costly.
Other Considerations of Prenuptial Agreements
While prenups offer plenty of benefits, consider these points before creating one:
- The timing might not be right. If you have difficulty formulating the decisions necessary to create a prenuptial agreement, the timing may simply not be ideal. You can always wait until after you’re married and create a postnuptial agreement. Work closely with a lawyer if you go this route because the legalities differ from prenups.
- Virginia laws may have you covered. Depending on what issues you want to have addressed in your prenup, you might already be covered by Virginia laws. A consultation with a family law attorney can provide clarification.
- The court can set aside any provisions it deems unfair. Alimony agreements and waivers are the most commonly set aside prenup provisions. Also, child custody information doesn’t belong in the agreement because the court makes those decisions in the child’s best interest.
- Prenups don’t include personal preferences. You can’t establish where your kids will go to school, who will do what chores, or where you’ll spend the holidays in a prenup. In fact, attempting to include such private domestic matters in your prenuptial agreement could cause a judge to view it as frivolous and strike it down.
Receive Personalized Advice About Creating a Prenuptial Agreement
Asking your significant other for a prenuptial agreement isn’t the most romantic thing you can do during your engagement, but failing to create one when it’s truly warranted could set you up for financial disaster. A consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Virginia can help you make the right decision.