Premarital contracts: What are they all about?
Prenuptial agreements help individuals protect their assets before they tie the knot. While traditional public policy was against this legal instrument, our country has evolved over the years. Now, in the age of frequent divorce, prenuptial agreements are accepted and even encouraged. However, the agreements go beyond protecting a party entering a marriage with a plethora of wealth and assets.
For example, without this legal protection (or a will), the state’s laws will determine what assets go to the surviving spouse in the event of a death. This means that one’s true intentions could be disregarded without such legal security.
Also, premarital contracts reduce disagreements in the event of a divorce. Of course, no one wants to anticipate the end of their marriage, but with such high divorce rates, it is safe to consider the worst-case scenario. If a prenuptial agreement can help relieve some of the hurdles associated with ending a marriage, this will help reduce the cost of the dissolution process.
Finally, it always helps to discuss money before entering a marriage. It is important for couples to understand their financial obligations and rights. This will prevent future surprises down the road. Having this discussion may strengthen the relationship.
Formation of a prenuptial agreement
There are a few legal basics to the formation of prenuptial agreements. In many states, prenuptial agreements must be must be in writing. Next, the agreement must be executed voluntarily. This means that a party cannot pressure or force someone to sign a prenuptial agreement. If this happens, the contract will not be enforceable in court. Moreover, the agreement cannot place a difficult burden on one party. Also, the contract should be notarized.
Prenuptial Agreements in Maryland
The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act was created to help streamline prenuptial agreement laws across the nation. However, Maryland has not enacted this model into its law. Moreover, Maryland statutes do not say much about prenuptial agreements. Nevertheless, a signed, written document is required in order for the contract to be valid.
Because there is some ambiguity in Maryland’s law, it is best to retain an experienced legal professional before entering your marriage. If you own a business, expect an inheritance or have children, it is especially important to meet with an attorney. A lawyer can help you sort out any legal issues that could potentially arise in your marriage or divorce. To learn more, contact a qualified family law attorney in your area.