When couples in Virginia choose to marry, they often do so with the expectation that they will spend the rest of their lives together. However, when many people today do walk down the aisle, many already have significant assets that they have acquired up to that point. Once they get married, however, family law could dictate how certain property will be divided should the marriage end in divorce.
As such, many couples choose to examine the benefits of a prenuptial agreement. A prenup, also known as a premarital agreement, can give couples the power to determine how their assets — and debts — will be distributed should the marriage end in divorce. Without one, property will likely be distributed equitably.
In one scenario, if one member of the couple owns a house and is the only person listed on the title prior to the marriage, the home is likely considered separate property. However, if marital assets are used to pay the mortgage or up keep, the equity gained in the home during the marriage is marital property. Couples can address this in a prenuptial agreement; for example, they could include a provision that ensures that any increases in value in the home is separate property.
Many people in Virginia and across the country mistakenly assume that prenuptial agreements are only for the wealthy. They can be used to address a variety of concerns and can be used to protect investments, retirement funds and even children from a previous relationship. An attorney with experience with family law in Virginia can help someone considering marriage to fully understand the role that a prenuptial agreement to protect him or herself in the future.