H. B. 2306
(By Delegate Doyle)
[Introduced January 16, 2003; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend chapter forty-eight of the code of West Virginia,
one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by
adding thereto a new article, designated article one-a,
relating to the uniform premarital agreement act;
defining terms; setting forth requirements and content of
agreement; providing for the effect, amendment,
revocation and enforcement of such agreements;
establishing statute of limitations, application and
construction of article; and setting forth short title.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter forty-eight of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding
thereto a new article, designated article one-a, to read as
ARTICLE 1A. UNIFORM PREMARITAL AGREEMENT ACT.
As used in this article:
(a) "Premarital agreement" means an agreement between
prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be
effective upon marriage and includes the definition of prenuptial
agreement as set fourth in section two hundred three, article one
of this chapter.
(b) "Property" means an interest, present or future, legal or
equitable, vested or contingent, in real or personal property
including income and earnings.
A premarital agreement must be in writing and signed by both
parties. It is enforceable without consideration.
(a) Parties to a premarital agreement may contract with
(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
(3) The disposition of property upon separation, marital dissolution, death or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of any other
(4) The modification or elimination of 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
(8) Any other matter, including their personal rights and
obligations, not in violation of public policy or a statute
imposing a criminal penalty.
(b) The right of a child to support may not be adversely
affected by premarital agreement.
. Effect of marriage.
A premarital agreement becomes effective upon marriage.
. Amendment; revocation.
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
(a) A premarital agreement is not enforceable if the party
against whom enforcement is sought proves that:
(1) That party did not execute the agreement voluntarily; or
(2) The agreement was unconscionable when it was executed and,
before execution of the agreement, that party:
(A) Was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the
property or financial obligations of the other party;
(B) 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; and
(C) Did not have, or reasonably could not have had, an
adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the
(b) If a provision of a premarital agreement modifies or
eliminates spousal support and that modification or elimination
causes one party to the agreement to be eligible for support under
a program of public assistance at the time of separation or marital
dissolution, the circuit court, notwithstanding the terms of the
agreement, may require the other party to provide support to the
extent necessary to avoid that eligibility.
(c) An issue of unconscionability of a premarital agreement
shall be decided by the circuit court as a matter of law.
. Enforcement; void marriage.
If a marriage is determined to be void, an agreement that
would otherwise have been a premarital agreement is enforceable
only to the extent necessary to avoid an inequitable result.
. 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.
. Application and construction.
This article shall be applied and construed to effectuate its
general purpose to make uniform the law with respect to the subject
of this article among states enacting it.
. Short title.
This article may be cited as the "Uniform Premarital Agreement
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to enact the Uniform
Premarital Agreement Act. This Act allows parties to a marriage to
contract prior to marriage with respect to property rights, actions
to be taken upon dissolution of the marriage, rights to insurance
proceeds upon death of either party, choice of controlling law and
any other matters not in violation of criminal statutes or public
policy. Child support cannot be adversely affected.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.