Dos and Don’ts of Maryland Prenups
Many people choose to lay out their assets and liabilities before getting married and create a prenuptial agreement. Others may have reasons for creating a postnuptial once already married. These are contractual agreements that help to avoid disputes and fighting later, in the event of a divorce. Not everyone wants to get a prenup, but for those who decide to do so, there are some definite pitfalls to avoid. After all, the last thing anyone wants is to create a document that fails to survive a challenge later. Avoid having your prenup or postnup invalidated by a court. Contact an attorney to find out how to properly construct a valid prenup or postnup today.
DO Fully Disclose All Assets and Debts Before Creating Your Agreement
In order for a prenup or postnup to be valid, both parties must fully and fairly disclose their assets and liabilities. Hiding assets or failing to make an honest disclosure of your debts may be grounds for the other party having the agreement voided in the event of problems later on.
DON’T Use the Same Lawyer For Both Parties
Of course, there are times when a single lawyer can help both people with an agreement. However, it is really best if you and your spouse each have your own attorney review and negotiate the terms of a prenup. This prevents either spouse from later arguing that they were misled or didn’t have representation in the negotiations.
DO Keep the Agreement Fair and Consistent
One-sided agreements that impose strict rules on one side but none on the other are generally unenforceable. Courts don’t care much for wealthy or powerful individuals who treat marital negotiations like purchasing a house servant. For instance, consider the case of Stewart v. Stewart, where the court explained how these agreements differ from typical contracts, due to the nature of the marital relationship.
DON’T Make the Agreement Harsh or Draconian
Now that we’ve said harsh rules should be two-sided, it’s important to suggest that you DON’T make harsh rules. Remember that time can change things. Who you are today could change in 10 or 20 years. Never create a document that eliminates your basic rights under the law. Marital agreements should not be used as swords; rather, they ought to be helpful documents to make sure that both sides are protected.
DO Think About Others
When drafting a marital agreement, remember that the document will have an effect on more than just you and your spouse. Many people use them in order to protect their children, their personal estate, and so forth. If you are on a second or third marriage, later in life, you should strongly consider how the agreement may impact your adult children and other heirs.
DON’T Try to Do it Yourself
Naturally, you can find just about anything on the Internet. But you should not try to use a template off the Web to handle such an important and potentially costly decision. Simple errors in the technical formalities or the way in which the document is drafted or executed could render it useless later.
Trust the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. in Maryland to help with all of your prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Call today to learn more or schedule a consultation.