Coates & Davenport, P.C.

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.

For example, a postnuptial agreement can outline each spouse's rights with regard to marital and non-marital property, both during the marriage and during a divorce. This could be especially important for couples with significant assets at stake. A postnuptial agreement can also include language regarding which spouse has the right to buy, sell, use or otherwise manage and control certain assets.

Spousal support can also be addressed in a postnuptial agreement. The execution of a will or trust to carry out the terms of the agreement can be included. Life insurance benefits can be addressed in a postnuptial agreement. Finally, as a catch-all, postnuptial agreements can address personal rights and obligations.

Postnuptial agreements can be just as valuable as prenuptial agreements. When the parties know what to expect from one another regarding property and finances, it could lead to a stronger marriage. And, should the marriage not last, a postnuptial agreement can protect each party's rights and help the divorce process run smoother.

Couples in Virginia who are interested in executing a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement will want to make sure they each have their own legal counsel to ensure their interests are protected. This will make the agreement stronger and ensure it is fair to both spouses.

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