Marriage for many is about everlasting love, but it is also essentially a contract between the two spouses, who, once married, will gain certain rights under the law. Because these rights also extend to the divorce process and its outcome, more people in Virginia and across the United States are seeing the value of executing a premarital agreement (commonly known as a prenuptial agreement) before walking down the aisle.
This may be especially true for the “Millennial” generation. A survey of members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that over one-half of the lawyers surveyed reported an uptick in premarital agreements among millennials. According to the president of the American Academy of Matrimonial lawyers, these young adults are approaching premarital agreements as a business deal.
Premarital agreements can allow couples to have more control over the outcome of their divorce (should it come to that). Without a premarital agreement, the laws of the state will dictate the potential outcome of divorce legal issues such as property division, child custody, child support and spousal maintenance. While divorcing couples can try to negotiate these issues out-of-court, divorce can be a bitter time and sometimes reaching a mutually agreeable settlement is not possible, putting these important issues in the hands of the court. However, couples can address these issues in a premarital agreement, which could lead to a more satisfactory outcome should their marriage not last, since the couple has already reached a mutual agreement on these issues.
Most engaged couples, young and old, can benefit from executing a premarital agreement before saying, “I, do.” It provides both parties with the security that should they end up divorcing, their rights will be protected and the outcome of the divorce will be appropriate for them. Because a premarital agreement entered into the day before the wedding may not be enforceable, engaged couples will want to determine whether a premarital agreement is right for them well before their wedding day, so they can negotiate and execute a fair and enforceable agreement.