Can a prenuptial agreement be done after marriage?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Family Law |

Prenuptial agreements have come back in vogue lately, and many couples are looking to enter them now, but they are entered prior to the marriage. This agreement becomes effective upon marriage and is primarily designed to protect each party’s financial interests in the event of divorce. This means that prenuptial agreements are only available up until the date of marriage, but married couples can still use postnuptial agreements.

Postnuptial agreements: the after-marriage solution

While a prenuptial agreement cannot be created after marriage, there is an alternative solution: the postnuptial agreement. Both post- and pre- serve the same purpose. The main difference is that a postnuptial agreement is negotiated and executed after marriage rather than before.

Virginia law states that postnuptial agreements are afforded the same rights and conditions as prenuptial agreements. This means that a postnuptial agreement can address the same issues as a prenuptial agreement, such as the division of assets, spousal support and more.

Why enter a postnuptial agreement?

Married couples may choose to enter a postnuptial agreement for various reasons. If one spouse comes into a large inheritance or starts a successful business during the marriage, a postnuptial agreement can ensure these assets remain with that spouse in the event of a divorce.

It can also provide for a stay-at-home spouse. If one spouse chooses to leave their job to care for children, a postnuptial agreement can provide financial protection for that spouse.

Postnuptial agreements can also address changes in financial circumstances. As lives, careers and financial assets evolve throughout a marriage, a postnuptial agreement can adapt to these changes.

Salvaging a marriage

Perhaps, one of the most useful purposes of a postnuptial agreement is to salvage a marriage. If a marriage is struggling, a postnuptial agreement can help by addressing potential financial disputes, providing a sense of security and peace. This is especially true where there has been infidelity or bad acts, like large gambling debts or alcoholism.


While a prenuptial agreement cannot be created after marriage in Virginia, a postnuptial agreement offers a viable and flexible alternative for married couples to protect their financial interests. But, there are legal requirements to ensure that it is legally enforceable.