A marital agreement is an agreement that settles and determines division of property and/or custody when two parties in a marriage are separating and getting ready to get divorced.

It is important for two parties seeking to resolve their divorce using a martial agreement to think about what they want to achieve through this resolution. Moreover, both parties must be aware of their rights and the potential outcomes of a court-decided resolution as both factors will provide a basic framework for negotiations surrounding a marital agreement.

An experienced Fairfax marital agreement attorney will help to inform you of your rights and of any possible outcomes in your case. This knowledge serves to better position you in the negotiating process as you will be fully aware of the settlement which you are entitled. To learn more or discuss the first steps you should take, consult with a  family lawyer in Fairfax, today.

Benefits of An Agreement

The biggest benefit with the creation of a marital agreement is that the parties who are going to be impacted by that agreement are the ones who have determined its terms.

Instead of going in to court and asking a judge who does not know the intricacies of the divorcing parties to resolve the divorce, the two parties and their Fairfax marital agreement lawyers use the information they have and their knowledge of their own assets and family to decide for themselves how best to resolve the aspects of their divorce.

Requirements of a Marital Agreement

A valid marital agreement must be in writing and signed by the parties. It is advisable that both parties signing the agreement initial each page and notarize their signatures at the end of the document in order to preclude any confusion regarding the document’s validity, or any part thereof. It is beneficial to have a marital agreement attorney in Fairfax experienced in these agreements helping along with each part of your case.

The agreement must provide for consideration, meaning that,  if the agreement provides that one party is getting something, there must be some indication the other party is getting something as well.

As long as the document is in writing and signed by the parties and shows something being given to each side, it should constitute a valid contract. For the purposes of resolving a divorce case and serving as a full and comprehensive settlement, the marital agreement should address every single issue that may exist in that particular divorce. This can include property division, separation of debts, determinations of spousal and child support, and terms of child custody and visitation.

In the event a marital agreement is challenged after it is executed, it is important to ensure each party provided complete and appropriate disclosures to the other of their financial circumstances, or at least that each party was given a fair opportunity to discover the other party’s financial situation.

Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement that is written and agreed to between both parties in a marriage prior to that marriage. The benefit of a prenuptial agreement is that it allows the parties to define their rights upon a dissolution of the marriage prior to entering into that marriage.

While prenuptial agreements can involve uncomfortable discussions, they can be incredibly useful, especially in those marriages in which one party has substantially more assets than the other or those involving children from prior relationships. A dedicated attorney experienced with these marital agreements and discussions can help to simplify the process. Prenuptial agreements clearly set forth the rights of the parties upon a dissolution of the marriage, and they can streamline the dissolution, should it occur, resulting in reduced time and costs.

Working with an Attorney

It is important for a person going into a marriage to know what their rights would be in the event the marriage dissolves. Before a person signs a prenuptial agreement, it is imperative they understand what their rights are under Virginia law.

In addition, it is important both parties to the marital agreement seek legal counsel about the agreement itself in order to make sure the agreement will be enforceable later on down the road. If you are seeking to have a marital agreement put together, you do not want to, in the event of a divorce, have to argue the prenuptial is valid if the other party claims they were forced to sign it without the opportunity to seek the advice of legal counsel. It is essential to have a Fairfax marital agreement attorney there to help protect your rights along the way during this time.