Frequently Asked Questions about Maryland Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is a contract you and your future spouse enter into in anticipation of marriage. While you can use a prenup to protect assets or address financial concerns, it can also be used to resolve a number of other potential issues in advance of your marriage. Prenuptial agreements not only reduce conflict in the event you and your spouse should divorce, but they promote communication between the two of you about important matters before marriage. This ensures that you start your life together with mutual understanding of important matters.

Here are answers to some of the questions about prenuptial agreements we are often asked.

Do I need a prenuptial agreement?

While it is not required that you have a premarital agreement, many people with premarital assets or children from a prior relationship, consider a prenup to avoid the legal and financial uncertainty that a death or divorce may cause in the future.

Are the terms of a prenuptial agreement predetermined?

Not necessarily. While it is common for one party to enlist the services of an attorney to draft a prenuptial agreement, the content may not be acceptable to both. In many cases, a draft prenuptial agreement is nothing more than a starting point for communication. The contents of a prenuptial agreement are fact specific and should be tailored to meet the future needs of both parties to an agreement. Many couples participate in premarital mediation, negotiation, or collaboration to agree upon terms to be incorporated in a prenuptial agreement. If you are presented with a prenuptial agreement, it is important to have the agreement reviewed by an experienced attorney, who can explain your legal rights.

Can a couple work together to create a prenuptial agreement?

Absolutely. There are many ways that couples can work cooperatively to create a prenuptial agreement. During premarital mediation with the guidance of a neutral mediator, engaged couples can discuss a variety of marital issues that may cause difficulties in the future. For example, premarital mediation can be used to reach agreements regarding the expectation for financial support, saving and spending styles, and even property division in the event of divorce or death.

What types of things can be included in a prenuptial agreement?

Prenuptial agreements are fact and asset specific, so they vary on a case-by-case basis. Prenuptial agreements may include provisions for the disposition of assets acquired before and during marriage, including: real property, bank accounts, automobiles, valuable personal property and retirement assets. The ability to be self-supporting and the availability or need for alimony may also be addressed in a prenup. While there are some things that cannot be included in a valid prenuptial agreement, the list of things that can be included is quite extensive.

Can a prenuptial agreement contract for child custody?

No. While a prenuptial agreement is designed to be protection from the legal consequences of divorce or death, there are certain things that cannot be predetermined. A prenuptial agreement cannot contract for the custody of children, especially children that have not yet been born. It is also impossible for a prenup to prearrange how much a parent will pay for child support.

The answers to these questions are general in nature and are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship or to replace specific legal advice. We invite you to contact our office at (301) 658-7354 to schedule a consultation, so that we can learn about the facts of your case and respond to the particulars of your unique situation.