Time travel paradoxes are nearly as old as science fiction writing, and many a story revolves around the dilemma of going back in time to alter something without also altering the path to the invention of time travel. You go back in time and prevent your marriage, but the child you and your wife produced in that marriage grew up to invent the time machine you used to go back to stop your marriage. So without the marriage, your kid never invented the time machine, and you never went back to stop your marriage … See? Many a Virginia man may wish, after he is married, that he had a prenup drawn up. Can it happen?
What Are Prenuptial Agreements?
Prenuptial agreements, or prenups, are not exclusive to high-fallutin’ celebrities and millionaires. Anyone with personal property they wish to protect from the fickle winds of marriage can sign a prenup. You may have inherited family real estate, like a horse farm or a vegetable patch or a termite-riddled mountain cabin. Your spouse may own a fleet of Bugatti Chiron sports cars, or a fleet of toy submarines she wants to keep out of your grubby mitts. Whatever, as they say, floats your boat (or, uh, sinks your submarine).
A prenup clearly identifies each party’s responsibilities in the marriage. It can include tangible concepts, like this is mine and that is yours, but it can also include some intangible ideas, like frequency of marital relations or limits on weight gain.
So long as whatever is being agreed to is not illegal, it can be in the prenup.
Virginia’s Version: The Premarital Agreement
In Virginia, couples can sign a prenuptial agreement before marriage, to protect assets and clarify ownership. The Code of Virginia does not use the term “prenuptial agreement,” opting instead for premarital agreement, but the intent of Title 20, Chapter 8, the Premarital Agreement Act, is clear. If you are at all confused, the Act spells it out:
“‘Premarital agreement’ means an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage.”
A prenuptial or premarital agreement only goes into effect once you and your spouse marry.
The wording of the law would seem to rule out agreements entered into during your marriage, but it does not. The clever Virginia legislators tacked on § 20-155, Marital agreements, to allow married couples to come to formal agreements:
“Married persons may enter into agreements with each other for the purpose of settling the rights and obligations of either or both of them, to the same extent, with the same effect, and subject to the same conditions, as provided in §§ 20-147 through 20-154 for agreements between prospective spouses, except that such marital agreements shall become effective immediately upon their execution.”
Aha! This is the ol’ “postnuptial agreement disguised as a prenuptial agreement” bit. So, to answer the nagging question, “Can I get a prenup after marriage?” the answer is, sure, but we will call it a postnup. Same conditions, stipulations, and legal force as a prenup; it just starts immediately.
Will She Sign a Postnup?
Unless your spouse is seriously lacking in common sense, she is not going to agree to a one-sided marital agreement. You want to keep your growing collection of Eastside beer cans and you expect her not to ask for her equitable share of their value if your marriage dissolves. Since some Eastside cans are worth around $50, your collection is a nice investment. If you added 250 cans to your collection while you two were married, she has every right to half the value of those 250 cans, or some $6,250.
For her to agree to sign away rights to your beer can collection, you need to offer something to her, like agreeing not to go after her Barbie Dolls. Sure, Midnight Tuxedo Barbie may be worth nearly $1,000, but are you really going to cling to your beer cans while expecting her to give you two of the dolls?
The postnup needs to be equitable. We may have sounded a little silly about beer cans and dolls, but what if one of you develops a brilliant invention, writes a best-selling novel, or paints a picture worth millions? You can both protect yourselves from endless legal squabbles and pain by signing a postnup.
Three other benefits of postnuptial agreements:
- Increased marital harmony
- Peace of Mind
- An “escape clause,” should the marriage flounder
You both may find yourselves happier and more secure in your marriage after signing a postnup. You cannot know your options until you explore them with an experienced Virginia family law attorney. Your attorney can discuss your desires and dreams, then draft a postnuptial agreement you are both happy to sign.
Call the Postnuptial Attorneys for Men
Whether you are from the past or future, or simply need to get out from under your current situation, call The Firm For Men at 757-383-9184. You can also contact us online to find out more about prenups, postnups, and property settlement agreements. We are here to help Virginia’s men, strengthen their rights, and protect their property.