What You Need to Know About Prenups in Maryland
Prenuptial agreements are not just for the incredibly wealthy. Rather, it is a tool for anyone getting married to ensure their future financial security. For people who enter new marriages with their own bank accounts, independent assets, debts, and even children, prenuptial agreements are often a necessary step before building your new life with your partner.
Whether you are thinking about your prenuptial agreement for the first time, or you are looking to revisit your prenuptial agreement several years after signing one, below are answers to some of the most common questions people tend to ask about prenups in Maryland.
What Is a Prenup?
Prenuptial agreements are created to eliminate doubt over asset ownership and spousal support payments in the event of divorce or death.
What Is Included in a Prenup?
Commonly, a prenuptial agreement will outline legal terms related to:
How jointly-owned property and assets between two spouses will be separated if the marriage ends
Distinctions between marital ownership of assets and individual ownership of assets
Each spouse’s legal right to buy or sell property and assets during the marriage
Joint debt repayments
Individual debt protections
Alimony payments following separation
Each spouse’s right to benefits from a life insurance policy
Each spouse’s right to benefits from a last will and testament
The inheritance rights of a child from a previous marriage or relationship
Bear in mind that prenuptial agreements are limited in that they do not cover matters related to child support and custody, division of marital duties, and other preferences that cannot be legally enforced.
Prenups should be prepared and written in such a way that each party has full and frank financial disclosure.
What if I Later Change My Mind on My Prenup?
Once a prenup is executed, it cannot be revised without the consent of both parties involved. As time progresses, some prenuptial agreements must be revised to account for new or lost assets and properties, as well as overall changes in a couples’ financial situation. Amendments and revocations for prenups are commonly accepted in Maryland, although we recommend consulting with an experienced family attorney before making any revisions to your agreement.
Note, it is extremely difficult to invalidate or set aside an executed prenuptial agreement. Spouses who choose to challenge their prenuptial agreements may struggle in court, as the burden of proof falls on their shoulders.
If an individual wants to set aside or terminate a prenuptial agreement, some of the things a court will consider are if:
One spouse has not been transparent about their assets, property, or debts
A critical mistake within the prenup has been discovered
Someone was coerced or manipulated into signing an agreement against their will
A valuable asset was hidden from a party
The terms of the agreement were fundamentally unfair to one party
Couples are strongly encouraged to confer with an attorney while drawing up their prenuptial agreements to avoid any potential mistakes or conflicts that may harm them in the long run. Additionally, although it is up to each person to choose whether they want to confer with an attorney at all in the drafting, negotiation, and signing of a prenup, one attorney cannot advise both parties.
What Do I Need and Where Do I Start?
Generally, prenuptial agreements require couples to be fully transparent about their finances, both with one another and with their attorneys. Before drafting an agreement, if possible, be sure you have the following documents on hand to share with your legal representative:
Copies of bank and investment account statements
The titles and deeds to all owned properties
A list of all valuable assets
A recent pay stub
Retirement plan statements
Records related to debt
Any relevant financial information regarding personal business interests
Please note that prenuptial agreements should be completed at least one month before the wedding so the process is not rushed. You should begin the drafting process several months beforehand.
If you have further questions regarding the creation, revision, or potential termination of your prenuptial agreement, please reach out to our office.
If you have questions about prenups, please contact Laurie Wasserman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-842-1070. The legal team at Wasserman Family Law is here to help guide and advocate for you.
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