WHAT IS A PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT?
A prenuptial agreement is a written agreement made prior your marriage to determine how property would be allocated in the event of a divorce. Contrary to popular belief, ‘property’ is not limited to the marital home or shared vehicles. It can include savings, investments, and retirement plans. Most, if not all, divorces will deal with the issue of property division, and if couples cannot agree or have no prenuptial agreement to reference, the job of property division will be handed to the court.
Taking these matters to court can be costly and often end with neither party feeling fully satisfied with the outcome. Prenuptial agreements have the distinct advantage of saving time and money on litigation while also allowing couples to tailor the division of assets to their specific situation.
WHEN DO YOU NEED A PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT?
While it’s obvious for wealthy individuals to look into having a prenuptial agreement written prior to marriage, it is not often considered by couples with a fewer number of assets. This is generally due to a misunderstanding of what prenuptial agreements are meant to achieve. They don’t only protect the wealth of one party – instead, prenuptial agreements make sure that property is fairly and equitably divided.
Take, for example, a parent who quits their job to stay home and care for their children. This person will give up opportunities like promotions, job offers, and a more employable resume in order to care for their family. Prenuptial agreements can guarantee that in the event of a divorce, that individual can receive some financial assistance from their spouse, as they will likely have a harder time finding employment.
Couples do not need to be wealthy to have a prenuptial agreement, nor is it a sign of distrust. Instead, prenuptial agreements allow for couples to decide what is best for themselves without the heat and resentment of a potential divorce.
HOW MUCH WILL A PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT COST?
A prenuptial agreement lawyer in Maryland will typically charge by the hour for drafting a prenuptial agreement. The cost will vary, depending on where you live and how complicated your finances currently are.
It is not generally advised for couples to attempt to draft their own prenuptial agreements. Prenuptial agreements will only be accepted by courts under very specific grounds. It is, after all, a legal document, and it is difficult to enforce without the proper language and procedure. Couples can often get out of prenuptial agreements by claiming they didn’t consult with a prenuptial agreement attorney, so drafting one on your own can a waste of time, or potentially detrimental to your divorce proceedings.
WHAT CAN BE INCLUDED IN A PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT?
Originally, prenuptial agreements were intended to take care of property and finances, but these days, prenuptial agreements can cover more ground. The most popular new addition is deciding in advance who will get to keep the family pets. Celebrities have gotten slightly more creative with their prenuptial agreements, with financial penalties for things like infidelity and weight gain.
What absolutely cannot be considered in a prenuptial agreement is child custody. Custody is determined based on what is best for the child, and this will still need to be decided either by mutual agreement or in court.
It is essential for each partner to consult your own prenuptial agreement attorney before signing a prenuptial agreement as well.
As a prenuptial agreement lawyer in Maryland, I can get your questions about prenuptial agreements answered.
Call us today at 301-515-1190 or contact us online to discuss your situation.