Dannenbaum Law Firm, PLLC

Reasons to get a prenuptial agreement

Some people in Virginia who are getting married might want to consider a prenuptial agreement. Divorce usually means having to divide property acquired during the marriage. A prenup can protect people who are entering a marriage with substantial assets, but the document also has other uses. If either person has children, a prenup can protect assets for those children.

In some cases, spouses may both want a prenup because they are each bringing assets into the marriage that they want to keep as their own property. While property that is brought into the marriage is generally considered separate property, this becomes more complicated if marital funds are used to renovate or upgrade it as might be the case with a house. The same is true of inheritances. They are usually treated as separate property, but if they are mingled with marital property, they might be considered joint property. Income earned during marriage is usually joint property.

In a prenup, a person can waive the right to claim alimony. Prenups can also complement estate planning documents, determining what happens to a person's investments and other property in the event of the person's death. An attorney may help in creating a prenuptial agreement.

It is important that prenups are prepared correctly because they can be challenged. For example, if it appears that one person was coerced into signing the prenup, it might be dismissed. This could be the case if the prenup was prepared and signed right before the wedding. Both individuals must also have access to adequate legal counsel. A prenup cannot address child care arrangements or child support. One potential advantage of a prenup is that it can help couples better understand their financial situation and their attitude toward finances. Since this is often a cause of marital strain, having this conversation before the marriage can help.

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