No one gets married thinking they will eventually get divorced. However, unpredictable actions like abuse or infidelity might break the marriage at some point. If you divorce, you will need to divide all the marital property between you and your partner, even if they failed you. To protect your assets from an unfair division, you should consider drafting a premarital agreement.
What can a premarital agreement include?
With a premarital agreement, you can establish how you would divide your property, assets, and debts if you two divorce. Premarital agreements can include:
- The rights and obligations of each of the parties in any property whenever acquired
- The right to buy, sell, exchange, lease, manage and control property
- The disposition of property in the event of divorce, marital dissolution or death
- The disposition of spousal support
- The making of a will or trust to carry out the provisions of the premarital arrangement
- The ownership rights and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy
The premarital agreements can also include other matters as long as they don’t put someone at a disadvantage or go against the law. For example, you cannot waive child support payments or establish who will get custody of the child.
Invalid premarital agreements
On some occasions, premarital agreements are not enforceable. The law in Virginia states that a premarital agreement is not valid if:
- One party signs the agreement involuntarily.
- One party did not have a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property and financial obligations of the other party when the agreement was executed.
- The premarital agreement was unconscionable (had unreasonable terms).
- The marriage is determined to be void.
These provisions will protect you if your future spouse threatens you to sign the agreement or if they had some valuable assets that they hid from you. Also, you must keep in mind that if the marriage is determined to be void, some aspects of the prenup may be enforceable to avoid an inequitable result. A marriage is void if you get married to someone who does not have the mental capacity to decide or if you marry someone under 18 years old.
The importance of premarital agreements
Premarital agreements are the best way to avoid future disputes if you and your partner decide to live separate lives in the future. Signing a premarital agreement would also be in your best interest if you have children from prior relationships or property of your own. That way, you can keep your assets separate and use them any way you want.