Two topics often considered taboo to talk about are money and property. However, if you are getting married you will want to talk to your partner about these important topics. Some couples choose to execute a prenuptial agreement — referred to as premarital agreements in Virginia — so they are both on the same page on how property and finances will be handled during their marriage and should they divorce.
What can be included in a premarital agreement?
Premarital agreements address mainly financial matters. In a premarital agreement you can include provisions regarding:
- Who will have the right to separate assets and marital assets in the event of a divorce
- Who has the right to manage and control separate assets and marital assets during the course of the marriage
- How separate assets and marital assets will be disposed of if you and your spouse separate, divorce or die
- Whether spousal support will be paid in the event of a divorce, and how much will be paid
- Ownership rights regarding death benefits in a life insurance policy
- What state laws will govern the premarital agreement; and
- Any other topic that is legal and does not violate public policy
Note that child support cannot be included in a premarital agreement. Child support is meant to benefit the child, and the appropriate amounts are calculated per Virginia law.
How to execute a valid premarital agreement
Premarital agreements must be written and signed by both you and your partner. A premarital agreement cannot be enforced if you or your partner were coerced into executing it or the agreement itself is unconscionable. For example, a premarital agreement may be unconscionable if you or your spouse hid assets.
If you and your partner are considering a premarital agreement, a good starting point is to discuss your situation with an attorney. Premarital agreements are only good if they are legally enforceable. An attorney can provide advice to those who want to learn more about executing a valid premarital agreement.