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When couples get married, signing an agreement that dictates how to handle future divorce-related issues may not be at the forefront of their minds. However, circumstances can change in a partnership, resulting in one or both spouses wanting to ensure they are protected in case of divorce.

A Richmond postmarital agreements lawyer can help you seek protection from future contentious divorce proceedings by advising you on the types of provisions to include in your agreement. After a consultation, an experienced marital agreements attorney can draft a postnup to meet your specific needs.

Defining Postmarital Agreements in Richmond

Most people have heard of a premarital (or “prenuptial”) agreements. However, fewer people are familiar with the term postmarital (or “postnuptial”) agreement. A postmarital agreement is a contract that a couple enters into during the marriage which allows them to decide how disputes will be resolved both during the marriage and in the event of a divorce. Postmarital agreements enable couples to determine important issues such as:

  • The rights and obligations of each party to personal assets or real estate
  • How spouses will divide marital property in the event of divorce
  • Which party is responsible for payment of any joint debts upon divorce
  • Whether one party will pay spousal support to the other during the marriage
  • Whether one party will pay alimony in the event of divorce
  • How inheritance issues will be resolved if disputes arise between spouses, or concerning children who are not shared by them

Whether a couple got married quickly and did not have time to execute a premarital agreement, or they simply did not think to enter into one until later, a local postmarital agreements attorney can help married couples determine whether crafting a contract after the wedding is in their best interests.

The Doctrine of Transmutation

A primary reason spouses may decide to enter into a marital contract after the wedding is if they have substantial individual assets before the wedding or inherit numerous assets at some point during the marriage. Virginia Code § 20-107.3 mandates that property separately owned before the marriage and property acquired through inheritance or gift by one spouse is generally not subject to property division during divorce proceedings. However, if couples begin to use separately owned pre-marriage property jointly during the marriage, or inherited monetary assets become comingled in joint accounts, the non-owning spouse may have a legal claim to the property upon divorce. This is known as the doctrine of transmutation.

Transmutation is a legal concept that allows separately owned property to be recharacterized as marital property because it becomes commingled or used as marital property during the marriage. A postmarital agreement could help individuals who own significant separate assets safeguard their right to their property upon divorce by specifically dictating who gets each asset.

A postmarital agreement lawyer in Richmond can help married couples avoid transmutation claims by drafting a contract that identifies all separately owned property and designates which person keeps it upon divorce.

Seek Help from a Richmond Postmarital Agreements Attorney

If you and your spouse are considering entering into a postmarital agreement, you should consult with a Richmond postmarital agreements lawyer. A devoted attorney can advise you on the types of contract terms you should include in your agreement, and ways to protect the property that you own from disputes in the event of divorce. Schedule an appointment to discuss your postmarital agreement options with a lawyer today.

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