Code of Virginia

Code of Virginia
7/27/2017

Premarital Agreement Act

§ 20-147. Application.

This chapter shall apply to any premarital agreement executed on or after July 1, 1986.

1985, c. 434; 1986, c. 201.

§ 20-148. Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

"Premarital agreement" means an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage.

"Property" means an interest, present or future, legal or equitable, vested or contingent, in real or personal property, including income and earnings.

1985, c. 434; 1986, c. 201.

§ 20-149. Formalities of premarital agreement.

A premarital agreement shall be in writing and signed by both parties. Such agreement shall be enforceable without consideration and shall become effective upon marriage.

1985, c. 434; 1986, c. 201.

§ 20-150. Content of agreement.

Parties to a premarital agreement may contract with respect to:

1. The rights and obligations of each of the parties in any of the property of either or both of them whenever and wherever acquired or located;

2. The right to buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property;

3. The disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, death, or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other event;

4. Spousal support;

5. The making of a will, trust, or other arrangement to carry out the provisions of the agreement;

6. The ownership rights in and disposition of the death benefit from a life insurance policy;

7. The choice of law governing the construction of the agreement; and

8. Any other matter, including their personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute imposing a criminal penalty.

1985, c. 434; 1986, c. 201.

§ 20-151. Enforcement; void marriage.

A. A premarital agreement is not enforceable if the person against whom enforcement is sought proves that:

1. That person did not execute the agreement voluntarily; or

2. The agreement was unconscionable when it was executed and, before execution of the agreement, that person (i) was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party; and (ii) did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party beyond the disclosure provided.

B. Any issue of unconscionability of a premarital agreement shall be decided by the court as a matter of law. Recitations in the agreement shall create a prima facie presumption that they are factually correct.

C. If a marriage is determined to be void, an agreement that would otherwise have been a premarital agreement shall be enforceable only to the extent necessary to avoid an inequitable result.

1985, c. 434; 1986, c. 201.

§ 20-152. Limitation of actions.

Any statute of limitations applicable to an action asserting a claim for relief under a premarital agreement is tolled during the marriage of the parties to the agreement. However, equitable defenses limiting the time for enforcement, including laches and estoppel, are available to either party.

1985, c. 434; 1986, c. 201.

§ 20-153. Amendment or revocation of agreement.

After marriage, a premarital agreement may be amended or revoked only by a written agreement signed by the parties. The amended agreement or the revocation is enforceable without consideration.

1985, c. 434; 1986, c. 201.

§ 20-154. Prior agreements.

All written agreements entered into prior to the enactment of this chapter between prospective spouses for the purpose affecting any of the subjects specified in § 20-150 shall be valid and enforceable if otherwise valid as contracts.

1985, c. 434; 1986, c. 201.

§ 20-155. Marital agreements.

Married persons may enter into agreements with each other for the purpose of settling the rights and obligations of either or both of them, to the same extent, with the same effect, and subject to the same conditions, as provided in §§ 20-147 through 20-154 for agreements between prospective spouses, except that such marital agreements shall become effective immediately upon their execution. If the terms of such agreement are (i) contained in a court order endorsed by counsel or the parties or (ii) recorded and transcribed by a court reporter and affirmed by the parties on the record personally, the agreement is not required to be in writing and is considered to be executed. A reconciliation of the parties after the signing of a separation or property settlement agreement shall abrogate such agreement unless otherwise expressly set forth in the agreement.

1987, c. 41; 1998, c. 638; 2003, cc. 662, 669.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of these sections may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.

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