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Premarital (Prenuptial) Agreements: The Basics


"not exactly a private moment" by author

“not exactly a private moment” by author

A premarital agreement, popularly known as a “prenuptial agreement” or “prenup,” is a legally binding contract ratified for the purpose of setting terms for the dissolution of a marriage should it occur.  Both Virginia and DC have adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, setting forth the elements of a prenup in Va. Code § 20-150 and D.C. Code § 46-503.

1. The rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them whenever and wherever acquired or located;

2. The right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property;

3. The disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event;

4. Spousal support;

5. The making of a will, trust, or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement;

6. The ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy;

7. The choice of law governing the construction of the agreement; and

8. Any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty.

There is no specific form required for a premarital agreement, and it does not have to contain all of the items listed above.  However, it must be entered into under the rules of a standard contractual relationship and without coercion (see Va. Code § 20-151 and D.C. Code § 46-506).

While an insistence or desire to enter into a prenup may appear to some as a sign of mistrust, please keep in mind that it would solve a lot of potential problems and emotional distress in the future should something go wrong in the marriage.  And on a more basic level, it can help a couple be open as to what they expect of each other.

This blog is an advertisement for the Law Office of Philip R. Yabut, PLLC, and the information in this post is not to be construed as legal advice, nor does reading it form an attorney-client relationship. Please do not post confidential information in the comments section.

Philip R. Yabut, Esq. || 1100 N. Glebe Road, Suite 1010, Arlington, VA 22201 || (571) 393-1236 || pyabut01@gmail.com