While some couples in Virginia enter into prenuptial agreements (referred to as premarital agreements in Virginia law), other couples may not take this step before walking down the aisle. However, sometimes circumstances arise in which the couple wishes they had executed a prenup prior to marriage. Fortunately, couples in such situations may be able to form a postnuptial agreement (referred to as a marital agreement in Virginia law).
Postnuptial agreements can address many of the same topics a prenuptial agreement can cover, such as property division and spousal support in the event of a divorce. If a party was coerced into entering a postnuptial agreement, if a party did not make a full disclosure of assets to the other party or if the agreement is unconscionable, then it may not be enforced. Postnuptial agreements in Virginia take effect as soon as they are executed.
There are many reasons why a couple might want to execute a postnuptial agreement. They may, during their marriage, disagree on something major, such as finances. By negotiating a postnuptial agreement, they can settle these disagreements in a way that is satisfactory to both. In addition, sometimes a couple's financial status changes while their marriage. For example, one party might get a significant raise or may sell a business. Postnuptial agreements can help both parties in these situations by ensuring that their new financial interests are protected.
So, if a couple did not execute a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage, they may have the opportunity to execute a postnuptial agreement later that protects both their rights. Because no one can predict the future, it is important to be prepared for any eventuality, including the possibility of divorce. Therefore, married couples without a prenuptial agreement may want to determine if executing a postnuptial agreement is right for them.