Why you and your spouse may need a postnuptial agreement

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Most people, particularly married ones, are familiar with what a prenuptial agreement is. In its most basic form, a prenuptial agreement is one between prospective spouses that sets out the rights and obligations of the spouses. Typically, a prenuptial agreement centers on which spouse is entitled to what assets and/or property in the event the couple separates. However, a prenuptial agreement can contain whatever the parties agree upon.

What you may not be familiar with is a postnuptial agreement. Though postnuptial agreements are extraordinarily similar to prenuptial agreements, as the name implies, they are executed after a couple is married. Postnuptial agreements are governed by the same laws and principles as prenuptial agreements (see Sections 20-147 – 20-154 of the Virginia Code).

Here are some of the most common reasons why couples decide to enter into a postnuptial agreement after they have been married:

– one of the spouses has been named the beneficiary of a family member’s estate, on the condition that the spouse sign a postnuptial agreement with their husband or wife ensuring that the inheritance will remain the separate property of the beneficiary spouse in the event the spouses decide to get divorced;

one of the spouses has decided to form a business partnership or enterprise, and the formation of that enterprise requires the spouses to sign a postnuptial agreement protecting the business in the event the couple separates;

– a couple decides that divorce is imminent and they prefer their property and/or assets be divided according to the terms of a postnuptial agreement, not Virginia law.

 It is important, however, to remember that like any contract, a postnuptial agreement is only as effective as the lawyer who drafted it. For this reason, it is always important to hire a knowledgeable family law attorney—like those at the DiPietro Family Law group—to complete your postnuptial agreement with you. If the agreement suffers from latent ambiguities or is too vague, the terms may not hold-up in court or may be construed in a way other than how you intended.

If you are considering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, or have any other family law issue, you should contact a knowledgeable family law attorney right away. The experienced family law attorneys at the DiPietro Family Law Group have decades of experience handling all types of family law matters and are here to help you.

Contact one of the DiPietro family law attorneys today to schedule a consultation with a caring professional at (703) 370 – 5555, or visit us online.

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