Virginia Postnuptial Agreements Lawyer

Before your marriage, you and your spouse might have considered a prenuptial agreement. If you did not proceed or have a prenup that does not reflect your current circumstances, a postnuptial agreement could suit your needs.

Postnuptial agreements can cover all the same topics as prenuptial agreements. Whether you need to adjust how you and your spouse manage your finances or you are contemplating divorce, a postnuptial agreement allows you to control the process.

Consult a local family attorney for help with your postnuptial agreement. These contracts are enforceable but must meet certain legal requirements. A Virginia postnuptial agreements lawyer could discuss your goals with you and draft an enforceable contract that meets your current needs.

Reasons for Entering a Postnuptial Agreement

Forming a written contract with a spouse might seem odd to some people; however, a postnuptial agreement could serve many vital purposes.

Couples often enter postnuptial agreements as a prelude to divorce. In this way, they decide on fair spousal support and property division rather than a judge. However, many other couples form postnuptial agreements for different reasons, including the following:

  • Managing an inheritance one of them expects or receives
  • Providing for a disabled child or grandchild
  • Making long-term plans if one spouse receives a difficult diagnosis
  • Protecting a partnership or business interest
  • Ensuring financial protection for a child from a previous relationship

Couples also use postnuptial agreements to set ground rules and consequences if one of them has engaged in marital misconduct.

If the postnuptial agreement is written, signed by both parties, and meets other legal requirements, it could supplement or replace a premarital agreement. When you want to ensure your postnuptial agreement replaces your prenup, consult a knowledgeable Virginia attorney.

Process for Forming a Postnuptial Agreement

Virginia Code § 20-155 expressly authorizes contracts between married couples, though both parties must sign a written agreement for it to be enforceable as courts do not honor oral postnuptial agreements.

Depending on the couple’s circumstances and the purpose of the agreement, consulting with a tax professional and accountant may be advisable. Each spouse must disclose their assets and debts to the other before signing the agreement. Making an incomplete or inaccurate disclosure could invalidate it.

Each spouse should have an independent attorney review the agreement before signing. A court might set aside an agreement if a spouse did not have adequate time to get an attorney review or if there was no opportunity for good-faith negotiations.

Understanding Unconscionability

Virginia law states that the court must not enforce a marital agreement that is unconscionable. The word “unconscionable” is rarely used outside the legal arena, and many laypeople do not understand its meaning.

Unconscionable means so unfair it shocks the conscience. Many marital agreements leave one spouse better off than the other, but that does not necessarily mean the agreement is unconscionable. A marital agreement is not unconscionable if it provides a reasonable benefit to a spouse who gives up a significant right.

When a spouse challenges a postnuptial agreement, a court will scrutinize the circumstances that led to it and might vacate it if the challenging spouse did not receive full financial disclosure or did not have competent legal advice. The court will also determine whether the agreement is shockingly unfair. In general, courts will not enforce an agreement that leaves one spouse financially comfortable and the other facing genuine hardship. A seasoned postnuptial agreements lawyer in Virginia could review a specific contract to ensure it is fair for both parties.

Trust a Virginia Postnuptial Agreements Attorney to Draft Your Contract

Postnuptial agreements are a good idea for couples facing major changes in their life including, but not limited to, divorce. A postnuptial agreement can formalize the spouses’ understanding of how they will handle specific issues.

A valid postnuptial agreement requires the assistance of at least two legal professionals—one to draft the agreement and one to review it for the other spouse. Contact a Virginia postnuptial agreements lawyer today for help with your marital contract.