A prenuptial agreement may not be the most romantic subject to cover as you’re planning your wedding, but more couples are realizing that creating one is a wise choice. The future is uncertain, even as it pertains to your marriage, so it’s smart to plan for the unexpected. Still, even when you and your spouse-to-be can agree on crafting a prenup, you need to be aware of the pitfalls. Your efforts could be all for naught if you make critical errors. A Virginia prenuptial agreements lawyer can help you avoid the biggest mistakes with prenups, but you should at least be aware of them.
1. Not Complying with Statutory Requirements for Prenuptial Agreements: By Virginia law, there are two key formalities to create a valid prenup. The requirements are:
- The agreement must be in writing; and,
- The document must be signed by both parties.
These factors don’t seem very difficult to meet on their face, so basic compliance is relatively straightforward. However, there are additional considerations if one of you seeks to enforce the prenuptial agreement.
2. Failing to Understand Your Waiver of Full Disclosure: Aside from the formalities for a prenup, you need to appreciate how the statute works regarding enforcement. If either party seeks a court order requiring the other to comply, the other must show that the prenuptial agreement was unconscionable. You must prove that:
- You didn’t get fair and reasonable disclosure regarding the assets or debts of the other party; and,
- You didn’t expressly waive, in writing, the right to full disclosure.
These factors regarding enforceability make sense, since you’d definitely want your betrothed to provide full disclosure about property and financial obligations before signing a prenuptial agreement. Otherwise, you could be giving up important rights or be accountable for debt that you didn’t expect.
3. Foregoing Legal Review: A prenup is like any contract, so you have legal rights and responsibilities that you need to fully understand. An attorney can review your agreement and explain the relevant issues, so you have the information you need to make responsible choices – or request changes. Plus, your lawyer can warn you if you’re making any of the mistakes on this list.
4. Including Subjects That are Prohibited by Law: The statute on content allows you to cover many different topics when creating your prenuptial agreement, but there are some issues that you cannot include. For instance, you can’t make arrangement for child custody, visitation, and support, since these matters are subject to a child’s best interests standard.
Avoid Prenuptial Mistakes by Working with a Knowledgeable Family Law Attorney
You made a smart move by deciding to create a prenuptial agreement, so follow it up my steering clear of the critical errors that affect your rights. When you work with an experienced lawyer, you can be sure the final arrangement aligns with your intentions. To learn more about prenups in Virginia, please contact Shannon & Associates, P.C. We can set up a consultation to discuss your circumstances at our offices in Chesapeake or Suffolk.