Coates & Davenport, P.C.

Richmond Legal Blog

Are postnuptial agreements an option for married spouses?

When a couple is engaged and planning their dream wedding, they may not wish to dwell on negative topics. This may include putting off executing a prenuptial agreement. While they may recognize that a prenuptial agreement can be a valuable part of any marriage, they may simply be too busy or too preoccupied to execute one before their wedding day.

However, this doesn't need to be the end of the story. Under Virginia law, married couples who did not execute a prenuptial agreement may have the option of executing a postnuptial agreement. The terms of a postnuptial agreement can cover many of the same topics a prenuptial agreement would have.

Fledgling Virginia businesses may benefit from legal assistance

Many entrepreneurs in Virginia are struck with a fantastic idea for a business. These potential business owners may be in a hurry to set their ideas into motion. However, before the business can open its doors, a number of steps must be taken.

First, the right business structure must be chosen. Some business owners will want to go at it alone and open a sole proprietorship, while others may choose to work with other individuals to open a partnership, a limited liability company or even a corporation. It is important to keep in mind that when it comes to entity formation, it is important that all applicable regulations are followed. If not, it could delay the opening of the business and create headaches for the entrepreneurs behind the fledgling business.


We would like to congratulate Betsy on her new position as the President of the Virginia Society of Professional Engineers.

DUI checkpoints set up over Labor Day weekend

August has come to an end, and, for many, that also means summer is coming to a close. But, before the season is officially over, some people have one last hurrah over Labor Day weekend. Labor Day is a popular time for parties, and it is not unusual for people to have a drink or two over the three-day holiday weekend. As a result, drivers in Virginia may have noticed an increased police presence on the roads recently.

Virginia State Police instituted a campaign known as the "Checkpoint Strike Force Campaign" where 94 sobriety checkpoints were established throughout the state in an effort to apprehend drunk drivers. According to police, DUI accidents are an issue over the Labor Day weekend. Of all the fatal accidents last year during Labor Day involving motorists ages 18 to 34, around 50 percent involved someone who was driving drunk.

A high-asset divorce need not derail one's retirement plans

Virginia is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital property will be divided fairly (although not necessarily equally). Retirement accounts may be considered marital assets that are subject to division, meaning that it is possible for a person to walk away from a divorce -- even a high-asset divorce -- with a significant deficit in their retirement savings.

Of course, divorcing couples can settle their property division issues out of court. For example, they might choose to split their retirement accounts and pensions equally. Or, one spouse might give up a retirement account for another equally valuable asset. Also, if the parties' income and savings are generally equal, each party may simply choose to retain what is in their own name. However, in all these cases, a spouse will have fewer funds for retirement, as they were likely counting on funding their retirement with both their accounts and their spouse's accounts.

Business succession is an important part of estate planning

Many successful entrepreneurs in Virginia have spent years cultivating a business from the ground up. They may take great pride in their work, and they may have the intention of handing the reins of the business over to their children once they pass away. However, despite these good intentions, many do not have a business succession plan as part of their estate planning portfolio.

In fact, according to a study by JP Morgan, 90 percent of "wealth creators" surveyed wanted their children to inherit the family business, but only 20 percent had taken action to ensure these wishes will be met. However, the good news is that business owners can be proactive in making sure their business is passed on to the heirs of their choice.

Including a health care directive in your estate plan

No one in Virginia really wants to think about their death, but it is a simple fact that one day we all will die. It may be of some comfort, then, to know that you can determine what kind of end-of-life care you want and who you want to act upon your behalf once you cannot do so on your own. This can be done through a health care directive and a living will.

In a health care directive (also known as a durable power of attorney), you can name the individual you want to execute your wishes regarding end-of-life medical care, should you be incapable of expressing those wishes yourself. When executing a health care directive, it is important to select both a primary surrogate and an alternate surrogate, should the primary surrogate be unable to perform their duties when the time comes.

Nesting after divorce: Hard for adults, ideal for children

What are your goals as you and your spouse get divorced? Do they revolve around your children? Do you really just want to find the best possible solution for the kids?

If so, you may want to consider nesting, which is a unique custody arrangement where your kids never move. They simply stay in the house where they already lived. As your custody schedule changes, you and your ex move in and out.

What types of partnerships can Virginians establish?

When two entrepreneurs in Richmond join forces to establish a partnership, they often have grand dreams of business success. And, many do see their partnership grow into a profitable business. Partnerships are a popular type of business entity that is relatively easy to establish. There are three types of partnerships entrepreneurs can select when forming their business.

One is a general partnership. In this business entity, all the partners to the business will divide the profits and duties of the business equally. Another type of partnership is a joint venture. These businesses are run in the same manner as a general partnership, but they are limited to a single project. If a joint venture continues operations a second time, it may be considered a general partnership.

A high asset divorce can bring financial surprises

According to a survey conducted by Worthy, an Internet marketplace, 46 percent of female respondents who were contemplating divorce, were in the process of divorcing or were currently divorced reported that they experienced unexpected financial issues due to the split. This is significant, especially in a high asset divorce where financial issues may take center stage. It is important for spouses of either sex in Virginia to anticipate the following financial issues they may experience due to divorce, so they can sufficiently prepare for them.

First, it is important to be aware of exactly how much marital debt one has. This is because during property division, not only will marital assets be divided -- marital debts will be divided as well. This could affect what a person walks away with financially when the divorce is completed.

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