Prenuptial Agreements in Maryland
Prenuptial agreements can be a delicate subject to raise with your potential spouse. This discussion does not need to be awkward with the right approach, as it allows the parties to enter into their union with increased communication and a better understanding of the expectations of one another. A prenuptial agreement lets the parties begin their new life together without uncertainty about what the future may hold.
A prenuptial agreement is a contract that the couple enters into prior to getting married. This agreement will establish at the outset how matters will be handled if the couple later divorces. It can also determine what will happen if any other specified events occur.
The terms included in a prenuptial agreement can be flexible, with some exceptions. A prenuptial agreement usually determines how marital property will be divided, terms of spousal support, whether spousal support will be made and how premarital assets/debt will be characterized. The agreement can be custom tailored to accommodate the individual needs that a marrying couple may have and may include a “sunset clause” which specifies the termination of the agreement after a number of years of marriage.
A prenuptial agreement cannot completely eliminate or set child support amounts, child custody or child access issues. While it may speak to such arrangements, child support, custody and child access schedules are always modifiable based upon what is in the best interests of the children.
When is it a good idea to have a prenuptial agreement? It is not a bad idea to consider entering into a prenuptial agreement if both people are interested. A prenuptial agreement can be helpful in many situations. Most often, the parties that are concerned with getting a prenuptial agreement have financial disparity between them or it is a second marriage for one or both of the parties. When one spouse enters the marriage with significantly more assets than the other, a prenuptial can help the wealthier party protect his or her assets while assuring the other spouse that he or she will be treated fairly in the event of a divorce.
There are many legal requirements that must be met for a prenuptial agreement to be valid and enforceable. For example, among other things, the prenuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties, a full disclosure of assets and debts by both parties is required and both parties should have independent counsel or waive the right to independent counsel.
If these requirements, and other factors, are not met, the prenuptial agreement may be determined to be void by the court. The best way to ensure that your prenuptial agreement will withstand a challenge is to seek counsel from an attorney. An experienced family law attorney can customize a prenuptial agreement to you and your partner’s needs while ensuring that all of the legal requirements are met.
I take pride in creative, caring and thorough preparation when assisting my clients in creating a prenuptial agreement. I understand that this can be an emotional process and I will be there for you every step of the way. Call me to set up a consultation to discuss your needs at (240) 617-0404.