What are the requirements for a valid prenuptial agreement?

On Behalf of | Jul 23, 2020 | Family Law |

A prenuptial or premarital agreement is a smart financial move if you enter a marriage with a lot of assets. If your marriage ends, your spouse could have a right to any property you own, even if you owned it before marriage if you somehow comingled it with marital property. By having an agreement in place, you protect yourself.

Courts do give premarital agreements a strong look in a divorce to make sure they are valid. According to the Code of Virginia, you need to make sure that your agreement is in writing. An oral agreement will not stand up in court.

Both observe the agreement

You also must both sign the agreement. It is essential that you both do so of your own free will. If the court suspects any coercion or duress occurred when you signed the document, it can invalidate it. You must both sign it with complete knowledge of what is in it and how it may affect you in the future.

Proper details

A premarital agreement can include many details not only about your property but also about your marriage and what should happen if you divorce. For example, it can outline property division upon divorce and cover spousal support arrangements. It also can cover other rights and obligations you each have in the marriage as long as it does not break the law.


The agreement goes into effect when you marry each other. A court will typically accept the agreement upon divorce as valid unless someone provides proof of a legal reason to not honor it, such as one spouse did not voluntarily sign it.