Simply having a prenuptial agreement is not enough

Once a Maryland couple has decided to make use of a prenuptial agreement, many gain an immediate peace of mind, knowing that this important financial planning tool will be a part of their future lives. However, many are unaware of the ease with which these documents can be challenged in court, and fail to take the necessary precautions to ensure that the guidelines laid out within their prenuptial agreement are adhered to if the need should ever arise. As a result, many prenups are created that will ultimately be rendered useless in a court of law.

One step that can help address this risk involves taking an aggressive and detail-minded approach to the financial disclosure portion of the process. Drafting a prenup requires the full disclosure of each party’s financial standing. This includes income, assets, debt and other liabilities. Without a comprehensive disclosure, one party can later claim that they were misled about the financial standing of the other, and ask a court to rule that part or all of the prenup be invalidated.

Another concern lies in protecting against the risk of one party claiming that he or she was not properly informed of the provisions of the agreement, or that they were asked to sign the prenup under duress. One way to offset this risk is to make sure that both parties have their own legal counsel review the prenup and explain the provisions. Should a couple choose to use the same attorney for this function, ask him or her to document all communications, both written and verbal, surrounding the drafting and signing of the agreement.

By taking the proper precautions, Maryland couples can draft a prenuptial agreement that is clear, concise and strong enough to withstand a legal challenge. Doing so will allow both parties to feel secure in having addressed this important financial planning need. In the best case scenario, a prenup is the most important document that a family will never have use for.

Source: Huffington Post, Heading to Divorce Court With a Prenuptial Agreement, Alton Abramowitz, Nov. 4, 2013

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