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What is a prenuptial agreement?

It is not uncommon when famous celebrities divorce to read that they shared a prenuptial agreement and that the terms of their property division and financial affairs would be settled according to that document. However, prenuptial agreements serve the interests of all individuals, not just those with significant wealth or notoriety. This post will briefly address what a Virginia couple can do with a prenuptial agreement and what provisions cannot be included in this type of contract.

Prenuptial agreements, often shortened to prenups, are contracts that people create prior to marrying each other. They can be used to sort out the financial aspects of a marriage as well as to establish property rights in the parties. When people get married their earnings and property can become comingled and turned into marital property; marital property is subject to division when a couple divorces and therefore in a prenup the parties may stipulate what property and assets will remain the sole property of the parties.

Additionally, a prenup may be used to protect the financial interests of children the parties may have had in prior marriages or relationships. It is not uncommon at the death of a married person for their property and wealth to pass to their spouse. If a prenup is in place and contains terms to such ends, children born to other relationships had by the decedent may receive property and wealth that otherwise would have been given to the decedent's spouse.

Prenuptial agreements may not be used to establish custody matters as courts must look at the children's best interests before agreeing to such arrangements. Any readers who want to explore what prenups may do for them are asked to reach out to their family law attorneys for case-specific advice.

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