Prenuptial Agreement/Premarital Agreement
A premarital agreement, sometimes called a prenuptial agreement, is a written agreement entered into by a couple before they marry or register as domestic partners. This document clearly defines how property and assets will be owned and managed during the marriage, and how they will be divided if the marriage dissolves.
Premarital agreements in Maryland are becoming increasingly common as couples marry later in life, or enter into second or even third marriages. They are important documents for protecting your financial future and rights, and here at JM Blattner, Attorneys at Law, we believe they can also be an effective way to strengthen the marriage from the start.
Premarital agreements are not limited to the wealthy. More and more couples from all income levels are taking steps to protect their finances with these helpful agreements. Signing a premarital agreement does not mean you don’t expect the marriage to last. On the contrary, it can be a way to develop a great sense of security and trust in your partner, and in your life together.
Disagreements about money are the number one reason couples get divorced. In a premarital agreement, the parties can concentrate on providing a resolution for issues that may arise in the event of a divorce. For example, individuals can decide in advance, if any alimony will be paid to one another as well as the circumstances under which it will be paid, including amount and duration.
Future spouses can also identify and isolate the property that each of them want to keep separate (including potential inheritances or possible gifts from family members). With a well-drafted premarital agreement, parents with children from previous relationships are able to make financial and estate plans freely with their future partner’s full knowledge and understanding.
Premarital agreements are an especially useful tool in protecting family owned businesses, special family heirlooms and other valuable property.
Most of the time, the existence of a premarital agreement takes away any need for a trial in the event of a divorce.
Consultation with an experienced premarital agreement lawyer can lead to an open and honest conversation with your soon-to-be spouse about your financial situation and expectations. These are difficult subjects that many couples gloss over; thinking things will work themselves out along the way. When they don’t, divorce often results.
Even if you choose not to sign the agreement, discussing these issues helps you both know what to expect before you get married.