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Love, Trust, and Signing on the Dotted Line: A Basic Primer for Common Prenuptial Agreement Terms

Johnny Cash sang, “Because you’re mine, I walk the line,” but what happens when lines get crossed in a marriage? How far are you willing to let your partner go before you find your limit, and how badly will the ensuing argument(s) fracture your relationship? What happens to everything you brought into the marriage if it ends?

When a couple gets engaged, there may be only love in their eyes. However, the American Psychological Association indicates that approximately 40–50 percent of first-time marriages and more than 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce! It’s safe to say there are always hard feelings if a relationship of marriage level comes to an end, and people can be completely different during these trying times than they were while the marriage was in its heyday. This is why prenuptial agreements make sense for any couple of any demographic getting married.

The Common Terms of Prenuptial Agreements

Couples planning their wedding may feel it’s a negative omen to also account for the possibility that their “I do’s” don’t last forever. But if you think carefully, quite the opposite is true. The idea of a prenup has been tainted by movies, tabloids, and celebrities to appear as though it’s only there to protect those with large assets from misleading individuals who only entered the marriage to eventually leave with everything.

In actuality, a prenuptial agreement ensures both parties are protected. If you discuss certain aspects while your love and trust are still very much intact and at the forefront of your minds, there’s no ill will or spite in the choices made.

Here are the most common terms even people like you and I should have in prenuptial agreements:

  1. Disposition of property and assets that will be acquired during the marriage.
  2. Properties and assets that are brought into the marriage by each party they wish to have kept separate from the marital ones.
  3. One partner has a business or investment portfolio that has been established prior to the marriage they wish to keep separate for a variety of reasons.
  4. How they plan to handle property acquisition during the marriage.
  5. Establishing terms for financial support if the marriage dissolves.
  6. Establishing a trust to carry out the terms of the prenup.
  7. Making decisions or setting terms for children/custody while both parties are calm and thinking rationally.
  8. How to deal with life insurance policies and other mutually-held assets in the case of a future divorce.

There are many more reasons to have a prenup, and terms vary considerably based on your individual needs. For this reason, we advise that you find a qualified lawyer to help draw up the agreement. This ensures the prenup follows the specific laws of the state and will hold up in court if the marriage does eventually end in divorce.

Do You Need To Speak To A Virginia Divorce Attorney?

If you are considering divorce you need to speak with an experienced Virginia divorce attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Fairfax, Virginia law office at 703.277.2811 to schedule your free consultation. We help clients throughout Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia and look forward to helping you.