Talk to any teenager today and you need a dictionary of slang to understand. Words that start off as polysyllabic suddenly truncate to words indistinguishable from grunts. Bae means “baby;” woke stands in for “stay alert and aware;” a thing that is lit is really wonderful. So from the same search for brevity we get fam for family and prenup for “prenuptial agreement.” In Virginia law, this is codified as a “premarital agreement,” and offers many benefits for you and for your wife-to-be. The bit about slang? Well, that’s because a prenup and teenagers could go hand-in-hand.
What Does a Prenup (Premarital Agreement) Do?
Code of Virginia Title 20, Chapter 8, § 20-147 through § 20-155 lays it all out for you, in old-fashioned, un-slangy English. It tells you who can have a premarital agreement (two folks getting married), when it takes effect (once they are married), and what it can cover.
This is where things get complicated enough to require the services of an attorney. What is property? Whose property is whose? What happens if she was thicc (slim but curvy) but gains 175 pounds? What if you were fire (really great) but become an alcoholic? The details can get very messy.
Here is a brief rundown, along with a few catchy terms you should know if you want to talk to anyone under 20. A premarital agreement can spell out:
- The rights and obligations of husband and wife regarding property belonging to each of you or bought together, wherever and whenever you acquired it
- Who can buy, sell, use, abandon, lease, consume, transfer or assign any property
- Spousal support after the marriage dissolves
- Wills, trusts, living wills and other arrangements
- Death benefits of life insurance
You do not have to savage your wife (be needlessly cruel) to arrange things equitably for both of you. You can assert your rights to property you brought to the marriage, and protect her rights the same way. Your attorney will discourage you from flexing (intimidating her) because she should have her own attorney zealously guarding her part in the premarital agreement.
Premarital Agreements in Virginia … Kinda Salty
Two parts of the Code of Virginia come across as really salty (harsh and cold). These are open-ended catch-alls that could make her cry and make you dab.
“3. The disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event;
8. Any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty.”
Notice the vague language. You can shoehorn nearly any expectation into those two sentences. These are the places your attorney will put in things like your ability to duck out of the marriage if your Kim Kardashian-shaped wife becomes Carrie Baker Reynolds. Remember, though, her attorney could easily insert language that tosses you to the curb for something she does not like, either.
Are Prenups Only for the Rich?
If you happen to be richie rich, because you are older and successful before finding your one true love, a premarital agreement can protect your accumulated assets.
You can bank your scrilla to keep it from her clutches if your prenup spells out that what you earned before her influence is off limits. Bear in mind, though, this may set a tone with her, and remind her that you value your dosh more than your Dami (your money over your gorgeous lady).
Divorce-proofing Your Business
If you’re a business owner, a premarital agreement can classify premarital assets as either separate or marital, which could make all the difference when it comes to divorce. For example, if your company is worth $10 million prior to marriage and $20 million during marriage, as a marital asset, your wife would be entitled to 50 percent of the $10 million increase in value. A prenup can identify your business as separate pre-marital property, which means its value would be exempted in the event of a divorce.
If you or she is a business owner with partners, a premarital agreement can also protect the business from needless confusion should the owner die. The agreement can make clear the owner’s wishes for disposition of the business, including preventing the spouse from becoming a partner (willfully or not) in the business.
Do it for the Children
The main reason Virginia couples should consider a premarital agreement is for their children from previous marriages. Protecting the rights and assets due your older children comes from spelling out your wishes in the prenup. A spouse can claim an “elective share” of any assets regardless of what your will says, according to Virginia Code § 64.2-302, unless you have a premarital agreement in place.
With the prenup in hand, your children’s rights to your assets acquired before the marriage are protected from your spouse, just as her children can get what she wants them to have without apportioning a share to you.
The premarital agreement can also work for both of you if either thinks you will stop working to raise children. This protects the stay-at-home spouse from being left destitute if the marriage ends. So she can be a home Kween and know you Hundo P have her back (rule the house, care for the kids, and you will provide for her 100 percent).
Unless you have broached the subject with your intended already, do not expect her to be turnt (excited) by the idea of signing a premarital agreement. You need to show her how the agreement protects her (spousal support, safeguarding children’s assets, acknowledging her property) as well as you. A well-crafted premarital agreement can increase marital stability and predictability.
Please telephone The Firm for Men at (757) 383-9184 to connect with an attorney familiar with prenuptial agreements. We can help you craft an agreement that values and honors both your needs, and we will do it in plain English, no dictionary needed. Contact us today. Or ask your teenager to hit us up. Either way. Whatevs.