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West Virginia Prenuptial Agreement: Is It Worth It?
Many states have different regulations governing divorce proceedings. Some states follow a 50/50 distribution format, where couples split their assets equally. Others like West Virginia allow spouses to make a prenuptial agreement before marriage.
Most couples do not prefer prenuptial agreements for fear of triggering a divorce. But premarital contracts can be efficient planning tools when contemplating marriage.
Here’s what a West Virginia Prenuptial agreement entails.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a formal contract between prospective couples highlighting how they'll handle property division or alimony during a divorce. While signing the agreement, spouses can commit to a predefined format that reasonably serves the right of each couple.
Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement in West Virginia
A prenup is an essential safeguard for your property and assets such as real estate, retirement benefits, and business proceedings. If you divorce or separate, every asset designated as “separate property” will be free of financial liability when sharing property.
A prenup can also help you handle debts and protect your assets from rogue creditors. Your future spouse may have brought debts from bank loans, credit cards, and study loans into your marriage. You can set a financial boundary barring creditors from implicating you in debt by signing a prenup.
That doesn't mean you can't help your spouse pay the debt. You can determine how much of your income goes to the debt burden in a prenup.
A prenuptial agreement also comes in handy for spousal support. You can include an alimony clause limiting how much you'll pay for spousal support and how long after a divorce. Similarly, you can exclude alimony from the agreement based on mutual understanding.
However, the terms should be reasonably fair to your spouse when defining alimony. Thus, eliminating spousal support shouldn’t subject your spouse to financial dependence.
A prenup also helps address the question of children and inheritance, especially if you’ve been married before. When you reserve an inheritance for your children, you can designate their inheritance as separate property when entering a second marriage. If you divorce later, the courts will uphold your children’s right to their inheritance.
What Does a Premarital Agreement Cover?
A prenup broadly covers the general aspects of property ownership and management. The agreement may protect real estate, family inheritance, bank accounts, stock holdings, cars, and business investments.
A prenup also defines the following essential elements:
- Your rights to separate property owned in any location
- Your rights to use, manage, lease, transfer, or control the marital property
- Your rights to spousal support if you divorce
- Your rights to choice of law when you divorce
- Other valid and lawful agreements form part of the contract
Is a Prenup Enforceable in West Virginia?
West Virginia is among the few states that have NOT adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. However, under West Virginia Code, chapter 48, prenuptial agreements are legally binding and enforceable
As courts may void oral agreements, you should present a written and duly signed contract to have a valid prenup in West Virginia.
The signing of a prenup in West Virginia should be voluntary, without coercion or manipulation. Thus, you should have sufficient time to review the document and understand it before signing. A good practice is to have separate legal representation from attorneys who will help you understand the contract.
A valid prenup in West Virginia should also fully disclose financial information from both spouses. If you fail to declare assets, liabilities, and financial obligations, a court may void the agreement.
Remember to download a prenuptial agreement form for West Virginia from our website.