Engaged spouses and married couples often agree to share their property, assets, finances, liabilities, and debts. Unfortunately, things don’t always work out as planned. Should there be a marital breakdown, their couple’s marital assets will be subject to equitable distribution during the divorce proceedings. Thankfully, a marital agreement can help determine how the couple's assets will be distributed in the event of a divorce, legal separation, or death of one spouse.

Furthermore, couples can enter into a marital contract before or after getting married. A marital agreement entered into before the marriage is known as a prenuptial agreement. Conversely, a marital agreement entered into after getting married is referred to as a postnuptial agreement. If you need help drafting a marital agreement with your fiancé or spouse, consulting with an experienced Virginia family law attorney is important for detailed guidance.

At E. Gordon Peters, Jr., Attorney at Law, Attorney Gordon Peters has the diligence and expertise to advise and guide individuals, couples, and families in legal matters of marital contracts, including prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. As your legal counsel, he can help you understand the benefits of a marital contract, explore your available legal options, and determine the best way to protect your accumulated assets, children, finances, and future.

E. Gordon Peters, Jr., Attorney at Law, is proud to serve clients throughout Lynchburg, Blackstone, Bedford County, Amherst County, and Campbell County, Virginia.



Prenuptial Agreements in Virginia

A prenuptial agreement, commonly referred to as a prenup, can be described as a marital agreement or contract entered into by engaged couples before getting married. The purpose of the premarital agreement is to determine the rights of each spouse, as well as what happens to the couples' assets and finances in the event of a marital breakdown or death of one spouse.

What Can Prenuptial Agreements Do?

A prenup can help you and your future partner or spouse achieve the following:

  • Determine the division of property in the event of a marriage breakdown or divorce.

  • Plan for future uncertainties and protect your estate plans.

  • Define how finances, household bills, and living expenses will be shared or managed.

  • Clarify each party's roles, responsibilities, and expectations.

  • Make adequate provisions for minor children from a previous marriage or relationship.

  • Ensure that family business and property stay within the family.

  • Protect either spouse against potential debts or liabilities incurred by the other party.

An experienced attorney can guide you through the process of drafting your premarital agreement and ensure that all required details are covered.

What Don't They Cover?

However, a prenup doesn't cover the following: 

  • The premarital debts of either spouse

  • Relinquishing alimony rights

  • Child support matters

  • Child custody or visitation matters

  • Details about personal matters

  • Provisions about anything unlawful or against public policy

Can They Be Modified?

Yes, it is possible to modify a prenuptial agreement provided that you and your spouse agree. To "re-up a prenup," you can either add to the original agreement or sign a separate contract that adjusts the terms and provisions of the original agreement.

Your lawyer will draw up an addendum to the original premarital agreement. You and your partner must witness and rightly sign the new prenuptial agreement. Once signed, it will automatically be a part of the original agreement. Any new modifications – provisions, terms, or conditions – will reflect.

Who Should Get One?

Additionally, you should consider getting a premarital agreement if any of the following applies to your unique situation.

  • You or your spouse are bringing assets and property into the marriage.

  • You or your spouse are coming into the marriage with massive debts or liabilities.

  • You or your spouse are remarrying.

  • One spouse is much poorer or wealthier than their partner.

  • You or your spouse have children from a previous relationship or marriage.

However, prenups are not only for the wealthy or for someone who believes they may get a divorce later. Whether you have small assets, large assets, or a business, you and your future partner can benefit from getting a prenuptial agreement.

Why Premarital Agreements
are Important

Here are some benefits of premarital agreements for engaged couples:

  • It helps establish clear boundaries and define expectations. This will make your lives easier ultimately.

  • It helps facilitate healthy communications with your partner about your finances.

  • It states how you and your spouse may spend your income or finances after getting married.

  • It allows the two of you to have an honest, open conversation about the things that are most important to you.

  • It can protect you against the uncertainties of life in the event of an unexpected occurrence down the road.

  • With a prenup, you can make suitable provisions for minor children from your previous relationships or marriage.

  • It allows you to keep certain assets, heirlooms, and other personal belongings within the family.

An experienced family law attorney can help create the prenuptial agreement to fit your unique needs and make sure that the contract is valid and enforceable.

Ensuring it is Enforceable

Under Virginia law, for a prenup to be valid and enforceable in court, the premarital agreement must be:

  • Fair and reasonable.

  • Signed voluntarily and expressly and not under duress.

  • Signed by both spouses before a witness (such as a lawyer)

  • Signed after full disclosure of both parties.

  • Notarized – signed or certified by a notary public.

Therefore, to ensure that your premarital agreement is legally binding and enforceable, you should hire an attorney to help you and your spouse draw up the required documentation.

How Legal Counsel Can Help

Establishing a premarital agreement can help engaged couples achieve potential security and peace of mind regarding their upcoming marriage. In the event of a relationship breakdown, a prenup can help protect accumulated assets, provide for your children, and settle financial issues during the divorce process. A knowledgeable family law attorney can walk you through the process of creating your premarital agreement and help you navigate crucial decisions.

For more than 20 years, Attorney Gordon Peters has devoted his career to guiding and representing clients in marital agreement-related matters. As your legal counsel, he can enlighten you about the benefits of a premarital agreement, what they cover, and what they don't cover. Using his extensive knowledge, Attorney Gordon Peters can help draft vital marital agreements and documents and make sure they're valid, legally binding, and enforceable.


If you need assistance drafting a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, call E. Gordon Peters, Jr., Attorney at Law, today to schedule a simple consultation. Attorney Gordon Peters has the experienced legal counsel and brilliant advocacy you need to navigate intelligent decisions when creating your marital contracts. The firm proudly serves clients throughout Lynchburg, Blackstone, Bedford County, Amherst County, and Campbell County, Virginia.