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What is a prenuptial agreement?

The process of planning a wedding can be both exciting and stressful for a Virginia couple. There are many decisions that they must make about when their event will take place, where it will occur, who will be invited to attend, and what level of formality they would like to have. Many may also consider whether they want to sign a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial or premarital agreement is a contract between two individuals who plan to get married but who have not yet done so. Through a premarital agreement, the individuals may establish important financial and property-based ground rules that will control if they eventually choose to divorce. Though prenuptial agreements are not particularly romantic, they can take a lot of stress and confusion out of divorces if they are created prior to couples’ wedding days.

Premarital agreements may not establish the ground rules for all divorce related matters. For example, while premarital partners may decide who will own what property if they divorce or if alimony will be paid, they may not decide how their children, present or future, will be treated in child custody decisions. Also, if fraud, coercion, or other deceptive practices were used to entice a person to sign a premarital agreement, that agreement may be set aside by a divorce court.

Before getting married, Virginia residents can talk to family law attorneys about premarital agreements and what they may offer to them in terms of planning for the future. This post is not provided to give legal advice and individuals should seek their own legal counsel.

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