Congratulations on your engagement in historic Virginia! If you are considering entering into a prenuptial (or premarital) agreement in this scenic state, there are certain requirements you’ll have to meet in order for that agreement to be deemed valid. Read on for the deets!
Prenups in Virginia
Premarital agreements, also known as prenups (and even called antenuptial agreements- we know this sounds confusing!) can help couples in Virginia decide what is mine, yours and ours, and how assets should be held or managed during marriage and in the event of a divorce. Prenups can also limit the financial and emotional expense of divorce. While you don’t have to visit an attorney to draft a prenup in Virginia, prenuptial agreements must be in writing to be legally valid, and must meet other requirements. Read on for the details!
A premarital agreement is defined in Virginia as an agreement made between prospective spouse, in contemplation of marriage. Under Virginia law, a prenuptial agreement will become effective upon marriage, and must be in writing and signed by both parties. Virginia prenups are governed by the Virginia Premarital Agreement Act.
What can you contract to in a Virginia prenup?
According to the Virginia Premarital Agreement Act, parties to this agreement may contract to the following:
- The rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them whenever and wherever acquired or located;
- The right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property;
- The disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event;
- Spousal support;
- The making of a will, trust, or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement;
- The ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy;
- The choice of law governing the construction of the agreement; and
- Any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty.
Virginia Prenup Terminology
Official name for a prenup: Premarital Agreement
Property that is not marital: Separate Property
Property that is of the marriage: Marital Property
Support: Separate Maintenance
Enforcement of a Virginia prenup
- A premarital agreement is not enforceable if the person against whom enforcement is sought proves that:
- That person did not execute the agreement voluntarily; or
- The agreement was unconscionable when it was executed and, before execution of the agreement, that person (i) was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party; and (ii) did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party beyond the disclosure provided.
- Any issue of unconscionability of a premarital agreement shall be decided by the court as a matter of law. Recitations in the agreement shall create a prima facie presumption that they are factually correct.
- If a marriage is determined to be void, an agreement that would otherwise have been a premarital agreement shall be enforceable only to the extent necessary to avoid an inequitable result.
- An issue of unconscionability of a premarital agreement shall be decided by the court as a matter of law.
(Added to NRS by 1989, 1004)
Can you amend a Virginia prenup?
Yes! After marriage, a Virginia prenuptial agreement may be amended or revoked by written agreement, and signed by the parties to the agreement. Read the fine print here.
Basics for your Virginia Prenup
- The premarital agreement must be in writing
- The terms contained must be lawful
- Signatures from both parties (HelloPrenup recommends initialing each page!)
- Signed voluntarily
- You should have your signatures notarized (this is made easy using Notarize.com!)
- “Fair and reasonable” financial disclosure is very important- Don’t skimp on financial disclosure!
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No commitment necessary.
(Not speaking about your marriage – commitment is absolutely necessary there).