Maryland Prenuptial Agreements
When you’re planning a wedding, there’s a lot to think about. Your guest list, caterer, budget, and venue may be the first – and most exciting – things to consider, but you’re also preparing to enter a lifetime partnership with your spouse. And that’s why you may want to talk about a prenuptial agreement.
Family law matters are often difficult to discuss, and prenuptial agreements are no exception. Even if you think a prenup might be a good idea, you might be concerned that bringing up the subject will alienate or offend your partner. But the process of creating a prenup can help both partners enter a marriage with clear expectations, which may actually strengthen the marital bond.
Lusk Law, LLC, understands that couples may not know how to start discussing their prenup or they may be hesitant to express their points of view. Our family law attorneys can help you work through these issues to create a mutually beneficial agreement.
Just give us a call to schedule your first meeting: (443) 535-9715.
Tackling Challenges in Advance
Prenups aren’t solely for determining how assets will be distributed in the event of divorce. These contracts can actually make divorce less likely, by addressing the financial issues that cause the breakdown of many marriages, such as:
- Deciding How to Allocate Expenses – Rarely will each partner earn the exact same amount of income. In some households, one partner earns most, if not all, of the income. Whatever your financial disposition may be, it’s a good idea to discuss how you will allocate expenses, such as utilities, rent/mortgage, and other costs. That includes specifying whether you’ll have separate bank accounts, a joint bank account, or both.
- Financial Control – If one partner earns the majority of household income, a prenup can define the degree to which each partner makes financial decisions.
- Debt – A prenuptial agreement requires each partner to disclose all their debts and financial obligations. Couples don’t usually intend to be deceitful about debt, but sometimes, after becoming married, one spouse learns the other has debt or credit problems that could interfere with their joint ability to get a mortgage or to save for retirement.
Before drafting a prenup, discuss with your partner what your long-term visions are. If one partner envisions an early retirement followed by extensive travel, but the other partner would prefer to delay retirement in exchange for a more lavish lifestyle now, that could create a conflict at some point down the road.
What to Include
A prenup doesn’t have to be all-encompassing, so you and your partner can decide how detailed you want it to be. Some business owners want a prenup specifically to address long-term business concerns, such as who will handle operations in the event of the owner’s death.
Ideally, business owners should have a prenup, along with a will and a legal succession plan.
A prenup, when set up in conjunction with other legal documents, strengthens the legality of any language contained therein. So, for example, if the prenup reiterates the allocation of assets defined in your estate plan, those documents are unlikely to face legal challenges.
Children, Parents and Other Dependents
You cannot establish a child support agreement with a prenup, as that’s a matter for the courts to decide. You can, however, ensure that any of your dependents – children from a previous marriage or elderly parents, for example – will receive a portion of your estate in the event of your death.
Married couples may face a time when one partner’s children from a previous marriage want to come live with them, or an aging parent has nowhere else to go. These types of scenarios can cause a lot of marital stress, as they can completely change the household dynamic. If you foresee these issues as a possibility in your marriage, you might want to address them in your prenup.
Unfortunately, many partners who are dissatisfied in their marriage wait too long to salvage their relationship, and the distance between spouses cannot be repaired. You can use a prenup to define how you will deal with problems that arise in your marriage, such as mutually agreeing that you’ll see a marriage counselor for a certain period before proceeding with divorce.
Once a couple divorces and a court issues a divorce decree, it’s extremely difficult to modify that decree, and the court will likely deny such a request unless there are exceptional circumstances. But you can easily modify a prenup, so long as you both agree to the changes.
We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about prenuptial agreements in Maryland. Feel free to contact us online, or call us at (443) 535-9715.
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