Getting married is a big step for many Beckley, WV couples. Often, the wedding planning process is a joyous time full of celebration and love. During this time, very few couples want to think about the potential for divorce. However, it is important to consider what will happen financially if the marriage does not work out.
Prenuptial agreements can be extremely helpful for many couples. Although many people believe that these documents are only for the ultra-wealthy, they can be beneficial for couples of all socioeconomic statuses. Pre and postnuptial agreements can protect both members of a marriage and ensure that all parties are getting married for the right reasons.
If you are considering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the attorneys at Erica Lord Law Group are here to help you navigate the process quickly and easily.
For almost 20 years, our team at Erica Lord Law Group has been handling family law cases of all kinds. We have specialized experience in creating prenuptial and postnuptial agreements that benefit couples of all types. No two agreements are the same, and we offer specialized services that allow you to customize your agreement to your unique needs.
We know that prenuptial agreements are not traditionally romantic, but we believe that they are acts of love. These agreements ensure that both members of the couple are marrying for the right reasons and that no one is exploited or taken advantage of. We help to craft and explain agreements that make both parties feel safe, secure, and understood.
Do not try to create a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement without an attorney. Doing so can result in serious mistakes, misunderstandings, and adverse consequences.
Prenuptials, often called “prenups,” are documents that keep certain assets from becoming marital or joint property. This means that those assets will remain the sole property of the original owner, and the spouse of that owner does not have a claim to those assets in the event of divorce or other legal matters. Essentially, these documents outline the sole ownership of certain property before a marriage blurs the idea of ownership and complicates the situation.
For example, if an individual has a large trust fund that they wish to remain in their possession, they may make a prenuptial agreement that outlines this information. If the couple should get a divorce, the original owner would retain the trust fund, and the divorcing spouse would not be entitled to take any of it as part of their divorce settlement.
A postnuptial agreement is a similar agreement, but the couple creates it after they have already gotten married rather than before. You may create a postnuptial agreement at any time after you are married, though the process may be a bit more involved. Marital property cannot be outlined in a postnuptial agreement, as it belongs to both of you. An attorney can help you to determine whether a postnuptial agreement is viable in your situation.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can benefit both parties and often eliminate disputes during the divorce process. They can also prevent certain debts from being transferred from spouse to spouse, which can be significantly helpful if one party has significant debt, but the other does not.
Pre and postnuptial agreements are serious legal documents. They must meet strict standards to be enforceable, and they must be properly recorded and notarized. If you create your own document, there is a strong chance that it will not meet the required West Virginia standards. If this happens, it may not be enforceable in the event of a divorce, meaning that all your property will be subject to division. It can also fail to protect you from your spouse’s debt.
Properly creating a pre or postnuptial agreement with the help of an attorney does not take long. It is beneficial to hire an experienced lawyer to make sure that the process is done correctly and that the document will be enforceable if you do get divorced or debtors attempt to seek compensation from you for your spouse’s debt.
If you sign a premarital agreement, you may still be eligible for alimony or spousal support if you get divorced. Prenups do not inherently take away your right to spousal support. However, your eligibility for alimony will depend upon the terms set forth in your prenup document.
Many couples choose one of the following options:
Because each couple can customize their prenuptial agreements to fit their needs, you can outline your documents with any terms that are beneficial to you and your future spouse.
It is helpful to understand that the court will make the final decisions about alimony, asset division, and the validity of your prenuptial agreement if you get divorced. Even the most well-made documents may not hold up in court if laws and standards change over time. Some couples find that the terms set forth in their prenup are no longer fair or valid at the time of their divorce. The best way to ward against this situation is to have an experienced attorney create your prenup. However, there is always the chance that the judge will find the terms of your prenup unreasonable, unfair, or illegal at the time of divorce.
Many people wonder whether prenuptial or postnuptial agreements can benefit same-sex or LGBTQ+ couples. The answer is that they absolutely can. Your gender or gender expression or that of your partner should not prevent you from getting a pre or post-marital agreement if you would like one.
Unfortunately, LGBTQ couples often face unnecessary challenges in the legal system. If you and your partner are looking to create a prenup or postnup, be sure to find a law firm that makes you feel comfortable and understood.
A: Absolutely. Prenuptial agreements must follow certain guidelines and be legally binding to be enforceable. If your document is not properly made or lacks notarization, there will be no way to enforce it if you need to. This leaves you vulnerable and makes the agreement fairly useless. You should always create your prenuptial agreements with the help of a seasoned attorney to ensure that the contents are legally binding and properly documented.
A: If you create a postnuptial agreement with the help of an experienced attorney, it is legally binding. A postnuptial agreement is just as valid as a prenuptial agreement but occurs after a marriage has begun. However, if you do not create the postnuptial properly, if the terms are illegal, or if it has not been properly notarized, the document may not be legally binding. It is important to seek the help of an attorney before creating a postnuptial agreement.
A: Timing is the main difference between a prenup and a postnup. A couple creates and signs a prenup agreement before they get married. If they do not do this but decide that they should have, they can create a postnup. A postnup contains the same information as a prenup, but a couple creates it after they are already married rather than before they get married.
A: Prenups, in general, are legal in West Virginia. However, they must follow certain guidelines to meet state standards and be legally enforceable. A couple cannot create a prenup or postnup if one of the parties involved is a minor. Prenups are also illegal if both parties did not have an opportunity to meet with an attorney before they had to sign the document. Consult a prenup attorney for a complete list of parameters surrounding prenups in West Virginia.
A: Prenups have a taboo reputation, but these documents often strengthen a couple’s relationship. Creating a prenup gives you the opportunity to discuss important information with your spouse that would otherwise be difficult to broach. You are guaranteed to understand all assets, debts, and accounts that your spouse possesses and how those things may fall to you if you get divorced. You both can be honest about your intentions, fears, and needs for the financial part of your marriage.
Our team has been helping couples create prenuptial and postnuptial agreements for many years. We are here to make sure that your document is secure, fair, and legally binding. When you work with us, you have the very best chance of creating a valid, legally-binding document that will benefit your marriage, make divorce simple, and hold up in a West Virginia court of law.
For more information about our family law services or to arrange a consultation, contact Erica Lord Law Group online today.