June 30, 2011
More weddings occur during the month of June during any other month. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean that April and May see more visits to Virginia family law attorneys to discuss the benefits of a prenuptial agreement.
A prenuptial agreement is an important asset protection and planning tool for everyone considering marriage. Many couples are waiting longer to get married; have established careers, own a home or have accumulated substantial liabilities. Others may have previously been married and have children from their first marriage. When established properly prior to marriage, a valid prenup can protect what you have worked hard to build, including your family and your assets.
Of course, no one entering marriage wants to plan for the marriage to fail, but financial disputes are one of the key reasons that marriages end in divorce. Answering tough financial questions prior to the marriage may in fact make your marriage more likely to succeed.
Planning for the Future Does Not Mean Planning for Divorce
A prenuptial agreement, when drafted and executed properly, can determine issues related to assets and property while you and your soon-to-be-spouse are not pressured by the stress and emotion of a divorce. But, there are several pieces to an effective prenup, including:
- The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties.
- Both parties must have entered into the agreement voluntarily. If one party is coerced into signing, the agreement may be invalidated.
- Each person must be given a full picture of the others assets and debts. Hiding or withholding financial information can invalidate a prenup.
- The agreement cannot be so unfair as to make one spouse a pauper.
When most enter into a marriage, the intention is to remain married until death do them part. However, if your marriage does end in divorce, a valid prenuptial agreement may allow you and your spouse to proceed more smoothly through what will likely be a very difficult time with a no contest divorce, saving a substantial amount of time, money and heartache down the road.
When discussing the division of assets that will become effective, if at all, at a potentially much later date in the future, there is no substitute for the guidance of an experienced family law attorney.