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Protect Yourself with the Help of a Bethesda Prenuptial Agreement Attorney

prenuptial agreement in Maryland

When entering into a marriage, there are several reasons to consider entering into a prenuptial agreement. Beyond “planning for divorce,” a well-drafted prenuptial agreement will serve several other important purposes to both spouses’ benefit.

Many fiancés are hesitant to bring up the subject of a prenuptial agreement (or “prenup”) with one another. But, this is largely due to misconceptions about prenups and their varied purposes. We understand this; and, in addition to helping our clients craft protective and mutually beneficial prenups, we also give our clients tools for opening a caring and non-confrontational dialogue about why it is important to have a prenuptial agreement in place.

Common Prenuptial Agreement Terms in Maryland

When crafting a prenuptial agreement, it is up to you and your fiancé to decide what terms you want to include. There is no such thing as a “standard” prenup, and it is important to have an agreement that addresses your particular circumstances and any specific concerns you may have. With this in mind, some examples of common prenuptial agreement terms in Maryland include:

  • Financial Management – Fiancés can use a prenup to create rules around things like managing their family budget, working toward savings goals, going into debt, and spending on non-necessities and luxury items.
  • Estate Planning – Oftentimes, fiancés will need to develop a prenuptial agreement in order to allow their respective estate plans to work as intended.
  • Identifying Separate Property – By default, assets that one fiancé brings into a marriage are that fiancé’s “separate” property, and they are not subject to division in the event of a divorce. A prenup can be used to identify separate property upfront so that there is no confusion down the line.
  • Addressing Property Ownership and Financial Support Issues – In their prenuptial agreement, fiancés can agree that certain separate assets will be treated as marital assets, or vice versa. Fiancés can also use their prenuptial agreement to address financial support issues for the future if necessary.
  • Avoiding BusinessRelated Issues – If one or both fiancés own a business, they can use their prenup to establish both parties’ respective ownership and control rights—both now and in the future.
  • Resolving Issues During the Marriage – Prenups can also include provisions that address dispute resolution during the marriage. For example, fiancés may agree in advance that they will use family law mediation if they reach an impasse on any issue that has the potential to disrupt their marriage.

Again, these are just examples. If you are considering a prenup for any reason (or if your fiancé has asked you to sign a prenup), we encourage you to contact us for more information.

What Should You Not Agree to In a Prenup? 

Consenting adults may agree to a wide range of terms in their prenuptial agreements. Each couple is different, so each prenup is also different, but prenups tend to focus mostly on financial matters, particularly property division in the event of divorce. While couples have significant latitude when negotiating the terms of their prenups, there are certain provisions that you should not agree to in a prenup, either because they are legally unenforceable or because they generally are not in your best interests. A Bethesda prenuptial agreement attorney can help you identify those provisions. 

Alimony Waivers 

Alimony is one of the most common — and fraught — issues in prenuptial agreements. Because alimony is a financial matter, provisions concerning alimony are valid and enforceable in Maryland prenups. While some states have special rules in place that govern a party’s ability to waive alimony in a prenup, Maryland is not one of them. Alimony waivers generally are enforceable on the same grounds as other contract terms. There are a few circumstances under which courts will refuse to enforce certain provisions of prenuptial agreements if they are “unconscionable,” but such situations are rare. 

Nevertheless, you should not agree to waive alimony in a prenup because you never know what your financial situation will be when you get divorced. Even if you are wealthy now, your luck could change. Or perhaps you might leave the labor force for so long that your skills are no longer marketable when you need to support yourself. If you are being pressured to waive alimony in a prenup, please contact a Bethesda prenuptial agreement attorney for guidance. 

Child Custody and Visitation Matters

Child custody and visitation matters may seem like reasonable provisions to include in a prenup, but such provisions are strictly unenforceable in Maryland. This is because child custody and visitation matters are issues to be determined by the family law court in the best interest of the children. Even if you include these provisions in your prenup, the court will consider the best interest of the children at the time of the divorce, not the time of the prenup.  

Child Support

As with child custody and visitation matters, provisions concerning child support are also unenforceable in Maryland prenups. When deciding whether and how much child support to grant, family law courts again are guided by the best interest of the children and rely upon a number of factors when making such decisions. While you cannot — and should not — agree to child support provisions in a prenup, you may agree to provisions that make allowances for your future spouse’s children from a previous relationship.  

Personal and Household Matters 

Prenups concern financial matters. As such, you should not agree to any provisions in a prenup that are not directly related to finances in one way or another. Non-financial provisions could include those related to: 

  • Household chores
  • Personal appearance 
  • Sexual relations
  • Whose name to use
  • Child-rearing 
  • Relations with family members
  • Religious observance 

Not only should you not agree to such provisions, they are also a waste of your time, as they very likely are unenforceable. 

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Bethesda Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer at the Law Offices of Brandon Bernstein, LLC

If you would like more information about the benefits of entering into a prenuptial agreement, please call 240-395-1418 or request a free online. We will schedule a time for you to speak with attorney Brandon Bernstein in confidence as soon as possible.