Fairfax Prenuptial Agreements Lawyer

Marriage is a financial and legal relationship as much as a romantic one. It is important to spend some time considering the financial side of your union before you tie the knot.

While many people think that prenuptial agreements are only for the wealthy, these contracts are truly valuable for any couple. Although no one wants to anticipate ending their marriage, having a prenuptial agreement can make a divorce quicker, less stressful, and less expensive. Working with an experienced marital agreement attorney to anticipate what your financial life together will look like also can help you and your partner set reasonable expectations for your marriage. A Fairfax prenuptial agreement lawyer can create an enforceable agreement that will guide you and your future spouse if the marriage ends.

Why a Prenuptial Agreement is Important

Many people believe that a prenuptial agreement or “prenup” is a sign of a weak or untrustworthy marriage, but this is not the case. Premarital agreements can actually strengthen relationships, providing security and mutual understanding. In the event that a marriage does end, a prenup allows a couple to retain some control over what happens next.

A divorce is a legal process. Statutes determine which property is separate and which is marital, and govern how a Court is to divide a couple’s marital property in the event of a divorce. For various reasons, the division the law calls for might not be desirable or appropriate for a particular couple. A Fairfax prenuptial agreements attorney can explain how the law would handle property in the event of death or divorce, and help a couple devise a plan that better suits their circumstances.

If one or both parties enter the marriage with children, substantial assets, or a business, they might have good reasons for wanting to separate and protect those assets. In other cases, one spouse might plan to devote substantial time to family matters rather than a career. In such cases, it could be important to have financial protection if the marriage ends. A prenup can address any or all of these issues.

Legal Requirements for a Prenup

Working with a knowledgeable Fairfax attorney to create a prenup is critical to ensure it will be enforceable. Prenups must be in writing – courts will not honor oral prenuptial agreements. The agreement is valid only if both parties sign it.

Both parties must also fully disclose their assets and liabilities. The law is not explicit about how detailed the disclosure must be, but it should be reasonable and fair. A fair disclosure allows each prospective spouse to have an accurate idea of the other’s financial position, including their assets and debts.

The law requires both parties to enter the agreement voluntarily. Courts will look at various facts to determine whether someone signed voluntarily. They might consider whether the spouse challenging the agreement had an independent attorney review the document. If not, they might consider whether time, pressure, coercion, or some other factor influenced the party to sign without a full legal review or whether they willingly waived the right to have independent legal counsel advise them.

Why a Fairfax Court Might Not Honor a Prenuptial Agreement

According to Virginia Code §20-151, there are a number of reasons why a court might invalidate a prenuptial agreement. However, the court does not initiate this process automatically. Instead, the burden is on the spouse who wishes to invalidate the agreement to prove why a court should not honor it.

A spouse could assert that they did not sign the agreement voluntarily. Evidence that the other spouse was coercive or did not allow time to thoroughly consider the agreement or get an opinion from an independent attorney could support an allegation of this nature.

A court also could invalidate a prenup if it were unconscionable when signed, meaning it favored one party to an extreme degree. The party alleging unconscionability must prove that the other spouse did not fully disclose their assets and debts and that they did not waive the disclosure. If a spouse asserts the agreement is unconscionable at the time of divorce, a court must consider whether the agreement so favors one spouse so heavily that enforcing it would be shockingly unfair.

Contact a Fairfax Prenuptial Agreements Attorney for Help

No matter your financial status at the time you marry, negotiating a prenuptial agreement is always a good idea. Doing so gives both you and your partner an opportunity to consider your financial expectations of marriage, and make any necessary adjustments.

Drafting a prenup can be a confusing process, especially without the help of a legal professional. A Fairfax premarital agreements lawyer could work with you to ensure that your rights and assets are protected and that your agreement is legally enforceable. Call today to get started.