No couple preparing to marry wants to consider the possibility that it may not work out. But the reality is that around half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. The income, property, and other assets couples once shared are divided when the marriage ends. Couples who may already be angry or resentful about problems in the marriage may not always agree on how to best go about this process. A prenuptial agreement helps to ensure it goes smoothly and according to terms previously agreed upon by both spouses.
Prenuptial Agreements Can Benefit All Types of Couples
There are many misconceptions about prenuptial agreements. Some couples think they are only reserved for the very wealthy. Others believe that signing a “prenup” means they believe the marriage is doomed for failure. Many assume prenuptial agreements are not beneficial for both parties.
However, a prenuptial agreement is a legally-enforceable contract or agreement designed to protect both spouses and their financial interests should the marriage end. Because both parties work closely with their attorneys when negotiating a prenuptial agreement, each should feel satisfied the terms are fair and reasonable when signing it.
Prenuptial agreements in Maryland generally address issues including:
Inheritance rights for children born before the couple was married
Rights to assets and property acquired before or during the marriage
Temporary or long-term spousal support
Terms for assuming separate or marital debts
Issues related to child custody, child support, and parenting time are not addressed in prenuptial agreements. The courts make these decisions in the best interests of the children, at the time they arise.
Prenuptial Agreements and Divorce
If a couple seeking a divorce has a prenuptial agreement in the state of Maryland, the courts verify the agreement is fair and equitable and freely entered into at the time it was signed. The courts also confirm both spouses disclosed a comprehensive and truthful picture of their financial assets and had legal counsel at the time they entered into the contract.
Prenuptial agreements offer many practical benefits for divorcing couples. Because they resolve many of the pressing financial issues that come up in divorce, prenups pave the way for peaceful and effective mediation. They help soon-to-be exes avoid lengthy and emotional court battles and move to successful resolution as quickly as possible. Prenuptial agreements are also valuable because they address the unique financial needs of every couple.
Contesting Prenuptial Agreements During Divorce
In some cases, one spouse or another wants to contest the validity of the prenuptial agreement. They may suspect their spouse misrepresented their financial picture prior to the marriage or believe they were coerced to sign it. Spouses with a valid reason to challenge their prenuptial agreement should contact a qualified divorce lawyer as soon as they begin to consider divorce.