Couples don’t enter into a marriage with the expectation that their relationship will break down, but divorce is a reality for many. According to the Virginia Department of Health, Division of Health Statistics, 29,465 people filed for divorce in 2017. There’s a good chance that many of them wished they’d executed a prenuptial agreement before getting married; it’s also likely that they avoided the topic because it seemed unromantic or inappropriate at the time.
However, there are multiple reasons that it’s wise to consider your options under the Virginia Premarital Agreement Act. In general, the top factors include establishing expectations, saving money, and streamlining the divorce process. You should always rely on a Virginia marital agreements lawyer to explain how these documents work, but here are a few specific reasons you may want to have the conversation with your soon-to-be-spouse.
You Want to Clarify Marital and Separate Property:
Under Virginia divorce law, a court will divide both the property and the debts of the parties that the parties acquired during their marriage, but assets they held or obligations they incurred prior to the wedding day may be separate. The problem is that the lines can be blurred over time. If you do nothing else through a prenup, you can clarify what is marital and separate in advance.
One Spouse is a Business Owner:
When one spouse operates and holds an interest in a business, divorce can get extremely complicated. Stock in a company isn’t just any asset when you also head up operations, since your unique input is tied to the value. You may have specialized knowledge that you contribute, which adds value to the business makes it difficult to divide up under typical property division laws in Virginia.
This is a Second Marriage for One or Both of You:
It’s common for couples to remarry after divorce, and those that do should consider the benefits of a premarital agreement in a second marriage. The primary reason is if your first marriage produced children and you have a will or trust that benefits them. A prenuptial agreement allows you to still honor the intentions of your estate plan, without Virginia laws affording automatic rights to your new spouse.
In addition, some couples getting married for the second time are older and in an entirely different financial situation. Instead of acquiring marital assets, you’re spending them down in retirement. A prenup can help establish a fair arrangement for your circumstances.
Contact a Virginia Premarital Agreements Attorney Regarding Your Situation
If you’ve got a realistic approach to marriage, it’s also smart to consider the possibility of divorce. To learn more about your options with respect to a prenuptial agreement, please contact Duff & Kronfeld, P.C. We serve clients in Fairfax and throughout Northern Virginia, and we’re happy to advise you on the benefits of planning ahead.