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.