Pre-Nuptial Agreements & Post-Nuptial Agreements
Pre-Nuptial Agreements (also known as pre-marital agreements) are recognized by statute in Virginia and are an excellent way of ensuring that you can enter a marriage while still protecting your assets. Pre-nuptial agreements are commonly used by individuals who own property prior to the marriage, especially when they have children from prior relationships for whom they want to preserve those assets. These agreements can be very comprehensive or can cover limited areas depending on the client’s goals and their particular situation. Pre-Nuptial agreements should be approached not only with sensitivity to the emotions involved in the upcoming marriage, but also with the formality of a contract affecting important future marital rights. It is important that you hire a skilled and knowledgeable family law attorney to draft a pre-nuptial agreement, as there are nuances that can have far reaching effects if the agreement ultimately needs to be enforced. For example, it is just as important to know what rights you are waiving as to know what rights you are preserving. Many online forms have provisions that are not effective in Virginia and can leave you vulnerable if a Virginia attorney has not drafted or reviewed them. The attorneys at Hirsch & Ehlenberger, P.C. have drafted pre-nuptial agreements that have been effective in courts throughout Northern Virginia, including Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Arlington County and Alexandria City.
If you need a pre-nuptial agreement or are wondering if one would be beneficial in your situation, you should schedule a consultation with an experienced family law attorney early in the process. We recommend clients come in at least two months before the date of the wedding since planning a wedding can be very hectic and the drafting process can require some back and forth to ensure that the client’s unique needs are met. This also ensures both parties have time to review the pre-nuptial agreement before it is signed so that it does not create last-minute stress or spill over into the joy of the wedding. Your spouse should have time to review the pre-nuptial agreement with an attorney, even if they choose not to do so.
Many people are unaware they can also enter into post-nuptial agreements which carries the same weight as pre-nuptial agreements and are enforceable under Virginia law. Post-nuptial agreements can be used in a variety of ways, including protecting assets that are inherited during the marriage to ensure that they remain part of your separate estate. Some couples who are considering divorce but hope to work on their marriage also find post-nuptial agreements helpful. In a negotiated post-nuptial agreement, parties agree what will happen to their assets and debts in the event of a divorce, allowing the couple to set aside financial concerns and focus on fixing their marriage. This helps to relieve the stress and uncertainty about finances that can get in the way when a couple is trying to navigate difficult times in their relationship.
The attorneys of Hirsch & Ehlenberger, P.C. can assist you in drafting a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement. If your spouse has presented you with a pre-nuptial agreement or post-nuptial agreement to sign, the attorneys at Hirsch & Ehlenberger, P.C. can review the agreement and advise you on your rights. We can negotiate on your behalf if revisions are necessary so you are comfortable signing. Our goal is that you understand the entire document and its effect so you do not feel pressured into signing a document that you do not understand which may have far-reaching effects in the event that you and your spouse later separate or divorce.
At Hirsch & Ehlenberger, P.C., we do our best to approach this subject with care and professionalism. Our dedicated pre-nuptial lawyers and post-nuptial lawyers keep your needs first every step of the way. By practicing in multiple jurisdictions, including Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Arlington County and Alexandria City, we are knowledgeable as to what courts generally do with property and debt division in the event of a divorce, and can use that knowledge and experience to advise our clients when negotiating an effective pre-nuptial agreement or post-nuptial agreement.
We also offer other family law services, please contact us if you have questions or issues in family law matters.