Prenup Lawyer in Fairfax, Virginia
Nearly 50 percent of all marriages in the United States will end in divorce or separation, according to the American Psychological Association. Given these statistics, many couples planning to enter into the bonds of marriage will reach a prenuptial agreement that sets forth specific terms related to the division of assets if the marriage were to end prematurely. If you or your spouse is contemplating a prenuptial agreement, it is important to retain the best prenup lawyer in Fairfax to help ensure you draft the agreement correctly and are not being taken advantage of. Hiring an experienced attorney will also help ensure you are aware of your rights in the transaction and that your rights are adequately protected.
Overview of Virginia Law Concerning Prenup Agreements
Virginia law established certain limitations on prenuptial agreements. Complying with these requirements is necessary to create a legally binding agreement. Therefore, to ensure your agreement is adequate consult with a seasoned and knowledgeable Fairfax prenup attorney today.
You may be asking yourself, “what exactly is a prenuptial agreement?” Well, a prenup is a legally binding contract entered into by two people planning to get married that sets forth the rights and limitations of each spouse upon divorce. Spouses have the right to include any of the following provisions in a prenuptial agreement:
- PROPERTY SETTLEMENT, INCLUDING THE DIVISION OF REAL AND PERSONAL PROPERTY
- SPOUSAL SUPPORT RIGHTS
- POSSESSION OF THE FAMILY RESIDENCE
As mentioned, there are limitations to what can be included in a prenup agreement. For example, the parties are prohibited from agreeing to decisions regarding child support obligations. Why? Because such support is a legal right that is specifically set by state statute. Likewise, child custody is an issue that is determined by examining the best interests of a child. As a result, prenuptial agreements containing child custody provisions are not binding on a Virginia court when making a child custody determination.
What You Can Do To Challenge the Merits and Enforceability of a Prenup Agreement
If you and your spouse are separated and planning to get divorced, you may be confronting the provisions of a prenuptial agreement that you did not realize you agreed to or were coerced into agreeing to prior to marriage. If you find yourself in this situation, it is possible to challenge the merits of the agreement.
Establishing Non-Disclosure and Unconscionability
One defense to enforceability of a prenuptial agreement is unconscionability. Unconscionability may be demonstrated by showing that:
- THE AGREEMENT WAS SUBSTANTIVELY UNFAIR, AND
- THERE WAS NO DISCLOSURE OF ASSETS BY THE RICHER PARTY
If the parties divorce and the prenuptial agreement is deemed invalid due to non-disclosure, the parties can then negotiate the terms of the divorce in a written property settlement or the court can make the decision on how the marital property should be divided.
Challenging Voluntariness and Enforceability
A second defense to enforceability of a prenuptial agreement is lack of voluntariness. When determining whether a party voluntarily entered into a prenuptial agreement, courts consider the following factors:
- WHETHER THE PARTIES WERE REPRESENTED BY INDEPENDENT COUNSEL
- TIME PRESSURE
- UNDERSTANDING OF THE WEAKER PARTY WHERE THERE WAS A FORFEITURE OF RIGHTS
- RELATIVE KNOWLEDGE AND BUSINESS SOPHISTICATION OF THE TWO PARTIES
While independent counsel is not a legal requirement of prenuptial agreements in Virginia, it is an important factor in determining whether an agreement was entered into voluntarily. Accordingly, it is best for each party to seek the counsel of an independent Fairfax divorce attorney prior to entering into such an agreement.
Take Action Today by Contacting an Experienced Prenup Lawyer in Fairfax
If you are seeking to create a prenuptial agreement, proper execution and adherence to the provisions of the agreement is imperative to ensure it is legally valid and binding. An experienced Virginia prenuptial agreement lawyer will ensure that all necessary formalities are met in the creation and execution of your prenup agreement. This will help give you peace of mind and ensure your rights are protected.
If you are looking to challenge the enforcement of an existing prenup agreement, a seasoned and knowledgeable Fairfax attorney can provide you with a full and detailed assessment of the agreement to determine the viability of your case.
To learn more about your legal rights, contact an experienced prenup attorney with the Dua Law Firm, PLLC. We are prepared to provide you with superior representation. Call Travis Van Hook or Raj Dua at (703) 382-7300 today for a free, confidential consultation.