There are several ways that people in Virginia might attempt to protect family property in case of a divorce. People should not mix an inheritance with the marital funds. This includes using an inheritance to purchase items or pay for services, such as buying or renovating a home, even if the money remains in a separate account. Once they are used to pay for shared property, the funds themselves might be considered marital property.
Another way to protect an inheritance is for it to be placed in a trust. However, people might also want to create a prenuptial agreement with their spouse-to-be. This would not only protect an inheritance but any other property that a person brings into the marriage.
There are a few points to keep in mind about a prenuptial agreement. Income and appreciation from nonmarital assets should be included in the prenup as exempt from being considered marital property. This may also help protect children from a previous relationship by ensuring that they get their parent's property instead of a second spouse receiving it. If either owns a business, this can also be protected in a prenup. Each person can also retain responsibility for debts incurred before marriage. A prenup can also deal with alimony and property division but not with child support.
For a prenuptial agreement, each person might want to consult an attorney. This helps to ensure that each has sufficient legal counsel and that the prenup cannot be challenged later on the grounds that one person did not fully understand or was pressured into the agreement. It may also help ensure that the prenup is prepared correctly since an incorrectly worded prenup or one that contains provisions that are inappropriate could also result in a challenge to its validity.