Virginia couples who are planning on getting married often consider drafting a prenuptial agreement. Their reasons for doing so vary, but the primary concern is typically to protect assets if the marriage should come to an end. Contrary to popular belief, prenups aren't just for wealthy people, and many working and middle-class couples opt to sign one.
The increasing popularity of prenuptial agreements also has its downside. Many couples attempt a "do-it-yourself" approach to what is in fact a legal contract. As a result, parties to these agreements may end up unwittingly agreeing to terms that are unenforceable or that don't protect their best interests.
When negotiating a prenup, it's important for a couple to decide what the agreement will cover. In some cases, an agreement may address property division or alimony in case of a divorce, while others are more comprehensive. Couples should also be aware that there are certain terms that they cannot add to a prenuptial agreement because doing so would violate state law. For example, it is impossible to waive the right to child support, as state laws usually mandate that parents are responsible for financially supporting their children.
Individuals should also be cautious about agreeing to waive alimony payments. While it is understandable that people would want to be able to support themselves after a divorce, circumstances such as accidents and illness can make that impossible. Maintaining the right to ask for spousal alimony is a good personal finance strategy.
Because of the complex nature of these agreements, some individuals may benefit from seeking advice from experienced family law attorneys. Both parties will need to have separate representation.