Prenuptial Agreement

While many people have preconceived notions about prenuptial agreements, they are nothing more than legal contracts that can help take the financial guesswork out of a divorce. In many cases, a strong prenup allows married couples to focus on fostering a stronger relationship with the peace of mind that both parties’ rights are protected.

Divorce is unpredictable, and your property rights and other financial concerns can hang in the balance. Having a valid prenuptial agreement in place can afford you the security you’re looking for, and an experienced divorce attorney serving the Virginia, Maryland, and DC area can draft an enforceable prenup that addresses your concerns.

The Key Components of Your Prenup

In order for your prenuptial agreement (also called a premarital agreement) to be legally binding, you and the person you’re marrying will need to provide one another with a financial disclosure that outlines the assets and debts each of you will be bringing with you into the marriage. This requirement can only be waived if it’s done in writing. Having a prenuptial agreement in place – in other words – helps to ensure that you both enter the marriage with a clear understanding of what you’re getting into financially.

The Terms Addressed

Prenuptial agreements are designed to address the financial terms of divorce, including all the following:

  • The division of marital property, which includes those assets you, your spouse, or you and your spouse acquire over the course of your marriage
  • Alimony (spousal support)
  • The matter of separate property
  • Debt allocation

Each of these terms should be considered in relation to your unique financial circumstances and priorities. While no two prenuptial agreements ever duplicate one another, prenups afford a significant level of flexibility.

The Advantages of a Prenup

When you take the time and put care into creating a valid prenuptial agreement that addresses your unique needs prior to marriage, it can lead to considerable advantages, including:

  • Protecting a separate asset, or the property either of you owns prior to marriage
  • Clarifying property rights in the event of divorce, which helps take what if out of the equation
  • Establishing alimony terms, which can otherwise become a serious sticking point

Ultimately, having a carefully considered prenuptial agreement in place lets you know exactly what a divorce will likely mean for you. This level of certainty inspires many couples to double down on their relationship goals. And if your marriage does end in divorce, your prenup can help you avoid the lengthy and contentious battle that divorce often becomes.

Recent statistics shared by The Harris Poll show that the percentage of Americans who’ve signed a prenuptial agreement is up considerably since 2010. Additionally, the percentage of American adults who support prenups exceeds 40 percent, and the percentage who are not married but are likely to sign a prenup in the future is holding steady at 35 percent. As Americans discover the financial and personal advantages of prenuptial agreements, they are becoming more common and less stigmatized by society.

The Process of Creating a Prenuptial Agreement

The path you follow to establish a prenuptial agreement with your intended will be unique to you, but the basics don’t vary much. Consider the following:

  • Discuss the matter with your spouse-to-be
  • Outline your financial concerns and priorities
  • Meet with an experienced divorce attorney with considerable experience drafting binding prenuptial agreements that address their clients’ needs and best interests
  • Discuss your financial priorities, goals, and concerns with your attorney
  • Review the completed document with your attorney and share it with the person you’re marrying

As with any good agreement, there will probably be some negotiating – as you and your soon-to-be spouse establish a balance that you’re both willing to sign off on. Once you both sign the prenuptial agreement, it won’t go into effect until you marry. If you don’t go through with the marriage, your prenuptial agreement will have no legal bearing.


The answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding prenups can help.

Do I need a prenuptial agreement if I don’t have many assets?

A prenup can be a good idea even if you don’t have many assets going into your marriage. For example, if you have children from a prior relationship, a prenup can ensure that they inherit according to your wishes – rather than according to the state’s laws of intestacy. Additionally, you may want to plan for the future. For instance, if you’ve just started a business, how will you handle the business as an asset when it grows. Having a prenup in place can help set the course for making responsible financial decisions throughout the marriage.

Can a prenuptial agreement be challenged in court?

Yes, a prenuptial agreement can be challenged in court. If it is challenged, this usually happens during divorce proceedings. . . Uring an experienced divorce attorney to draft the agreement can help avoid or withstand challenges to the agreement. divorce attorney.

Some examples of issues that can invalidate a prenuptial agreement include:

  • Technical contractual errors
  • Coercion
  • The inclusion of terms that are unreasonable or illegal, such as the waiving of a legal right, which are considered unconscionable
  • Inadequate financial disclosure

Doesn’t a prenup mean my partner doesn’t trust me?

No, if you’ve been asked to sign a prenup, it doesn’t mean that your soon-to-be spouse doesn’t trust you. Instead, a prenup is a form of asset protection that can serve the best interests of both of you – while bolstering your relationship. A good prenuptial agreement can serve to protect both parties. You shouldn’t, however, sign a prenup before you’ve carefully reviewed the matter with your own attorney.

Thinking about a Prenup? Contact a Family Law Attorney Today

The experienced divorce attorneys at Bourdon & Tortolero proudly serve clients throughout Virginia, Maryland, and the DC metropolitan area, and we recognize exactly how anxiety-provoking prenuptial agreements can be. We dedicate our practice to helping clients like you

better understand how a solid prenup can help serve their own financial interests, and we’re here to help every step of the way – from identifying your priorities to skillfully drafting, negotiating, and reviewing your contract. Learn more by contacting or calling us at 703-646-8390 today.

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