For many couples in Virginia, the months and weeks leading up to their wedding is an exciting time, as they dream about their future “’til death do us part.” And while couples may see the world through rose-tinted glasses prior to marriage, the fact is that not every marriage is meant to last. While some couples in Virginia may have been advised to execute a premarital agreement (prenuptial agreement) to cover their interests should they divorce, many simply do not do so. However, what if a couple doesn’t enter into a premarital agreement prior to getting married, but once married, wish they had?
Fortunately, couples in this situation have the option to execute a marital agreement (postnuptial agreement). Like a premarital agreement, a marital agreement is essentially a contract between the two spouses. However, unlike a premarital agreement, a marital agreement is entered into after the couple has married. Marital agreements, like premarital agreements, can address financial issues such as property division, spousal support and inheritances should the couple divorce.
There are a variety of reasons why a couple may want to execute a marital agreement. One simple reason is that they may have wanted to execute a premarital agreement prior to walking down the aisle, but simply didn’t get around to it. Other reasons are more personal. For example, sometimes a spouse stays out of the workforce while married to care for the family. A marital agreement can help ensure that spouse will not suffer financially for making that decision. Also, if it is the couple’s second marriage, and one spouse has children from a prior union, a marital agreement can contain provisions ensuring that these children will receive an inheritance.
As this shows, marital agreements are just as practical as premarital agreements. They can address many financial issues that will come up if the parties divorce. With these decisions having been made ahead of time, it can make the divorce process run smoothly. In addition, marital agreements can help ensure that the final divorce decree is fair to both parties. Marital agreements may not be romantic, but they may be an option worth considering for couples who did not execute a premarital agreement prior to their wedding day.