Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
Some aspects of family law as practiced by the experienced attorneys at The Firm For Men are more practical than others. A prenuptial agreement is a practical way to clearly define your property and your future wife’s property before you join in matrimony recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia. It may not have the emotional charge of, say, a contested divorce nor the joyful thrill of winning a child custody case, but a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is valuable and necessary in many instances. The trained lawyers of The Firm For Men are ideally situated to help Virginia’s men through the steps to signing a prenup or postnup.
Virginia couples with assets to protect before a marriage can safeguard their own property with a prenuptial agreement expertly crafted by the prenuptial agreement attorneys at The Firm For Men. You may not feel you are worth enough to warrant such an agreement, but consider:
- Do you own a vacation home?
- Have you inherited land, artwork or property?
- Do you own a small business?
- Are you seeking a patent or pursuing an invention?
- Are you a writer, musician or other creative person with intellectual property?
If any of these situations may apply to you, you deserve the protection a Virginia prenuptial agreement can bring. The separate property you bring to a marriage can be carved out as yours alone, should your marriage later dissolve. Normally, some give and take is needed in property settlement agreements to determine what is yours, what is hers, and what was acquired during the marriage.
A prenuptial agreement sets the bounds clearly, so neither you nor your wife is confused about who gets what of the property you bring to the marriage. Say you have a modest invention, but during your marriage, it really takes off and profits roll in. If you do not have a prenuptial agreement that defined the invention as yours, and yours alone, before the marriage (so that any economic gain is yours alone), your wife can effectively argue that her marital support contributed to your economic success, and she deserves a portion of the profits.
A prenuptial agreement can also shelter your business from division during a property settlement agreement. Sure, you might have a small operation in the early years of marriage, but suppose your business really booms. You expand, you open franchises; whatever you do, you deserve the opportunity to protect it from unfair division should your marriage crumble. You can set the business as separate and apart from discussions in splitting assets and liabilities.
If you are too late to seize the benefits of a prenuptial agreement, then consider a postnuptial agreement. This is crafted after you two are joined in a state-sanctioned and recognized marriage, whether you married in Virginia or elsewhere. The postnuptial agreement does the same thing as a prenup, but is done during the years of marriage that may see unexpected developments between you two.
Often a postnup is created to compel one spouse to change behaviors that are ruinous to the marriage. You have worked hard during, say, a decade of marriage, but sadly you witnessed your wife devolve under the rule of alcohol and gambling, and she has brought mostly misery to your marriage. She wants to clean up, straighten up, and live up to what she has vowed to you; you can actually help her with that goal by having her sign a postnup agreement.
In such a postnup, you can set warning signs that she cannot ignore: gamble again and the marriage is dissolved with her taking complete responsibility for her debts. Drink to excess again and she cedes financial control of your real property (land and houses). Whatever forcing function you want to put into the postnup, you and she can have the attorneys and The Firm For Men write it and make it legally binding.
Another, perhaps more optimistic purpose of postnuptial agreements is to codify changes to your financial situation during your marriage. Suppose a wealthy relative of your wife’s passes away and leaves her land or money. She can sign a postnup with you that clearly defines that as hers alone, since you played no role in bringing that boon to your marriage. This does not prevent the two of you from benefiting from the windfall during marriage; you can build a vacation home on the property, or invest her money, and share in the dividends. But, should your marriage break apart, she would leave with whatever you had agreed was hers by inheritance.
When inheritance comes into a marriage, while it starts off as separate property clearly defined in existing law, as the money flows into joint accounts and you with your wife start buying or investing, the separate property becomes commingled and confusing. By signing a postnup, both of you know exactly who owns what, and how much is hers alone, yours alone, and subject to equitable division as marital property.
The Law Done Right
Virginia law requires both prenuptial agreements and postnuptial agreements to follow Code of Virginia to adhere to the law as laid down in the Virginia Premarital Agreement Act (§ 20-147 through § 20-155). This means you need a company well-versed in the Code; you need The Firm For Men. We can prepare a completely legally binding prenup or postnup that follows both the letter and intent of the Act.
The details spelled out in either a prenup or postnup are almost completely up to you and your wife. The law (§ 20-150. Content of agreement.) gives you wide latitude, including this gem:
“8. Any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty.”
What of the seven other areas stipulated before that portmanteau paragraph? Just about everything: mortgages, investments, spousal support, the kitchen sink, wills, trusts, life insurance proceeds. Without the able services of a trusted lawyer from The Firm For Men, you could unknowingly sign away valuable rights under a deluge of stipulations in a prenup or postnup agreement.
Family Law for Men Only … It’s What We Do
Not every law firm in Virginia focuses on family law. Some are criminal lawyers; some handle real estate. Some law firms dabble in whatever the hot trend is, like patent lawsuits (so-called “patent trolls). At The Firm For Men we focus on:
- family law
- male clients
What we do, every day, is fight to preserve and defend the rights of Virginia’s men. We craft prenuptial agreements. We work through and settle postnuptial agreements. We negotiate divorces, property settlement agreements, and spousal support. We work at length to find solutions to child custody and visitation challenges. No aspect of family law is outside our experience or knowledge. One area we are especially strong in as the correct, legally binding production of prenups and postnups.
They are practical, helpful paper paths to produce predictable results in a Virginia marriage. If you think you may need a prenup or postnup, please contact us at The Firm For Men either online or by telephone, (757) 383-9184 today.