Marital Agreements: What You Need to Know About Them

Many couples consider entering into a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married.. A prenuptial agreement is a  contract that establishes rights between the parties, frequently different than the law would provide, in the event a couple decides to divorce. Some things that these contacts address include:

  1. Property rights for property that was acquired before or during the marriage.
  2. Inheritance rights, including special provisions for children by a previous marriage or for any children born of the upcoming marriage.
  3. Alimony issues and/or monetary awards.

Some individuals forgo their right to create a prenuptial agreement as they may not feel they need to establish any property rights or simply don’t have any they could potentially lose in the event the marriage ends with divorce. However, individuals who have inherited a fortune or own a significant amount of property prior to meeting their future or husband or wife may not want to risk having to divide it up if they were to split up. Many individuals with prior marriages want to protect the financial rights of the children from that marriage or minimize the exposure to alimony can address these issues through a prenuptial agreement.

So, how do you decide if a prenuptial agreement is right for you?

Well, the first way to address this question would be to consider the property and/or assets you currently own or will own in the future. If you don’t want to risk losing it in the event your marriage fails, then perhaps you will want to discuss with your future spouse the possibility of having a prenuptial agreement. A family law attorney can also explain the pros and cons to creating a prenuptial agreement so if you aren’t sure whether you and your partner should sign one prior to getting married, they can help you make an informed decision

In the event you are interested in having a prenuptial agreement written up for you and your partner, then it would be best to contact one of the Rockville, MD family law attorneys at Barkley & Kennedy.

The reason why many individuals consult with our family law lawyers prior to writing up their own prenuptial agreement is because it will need to contain the proper wording that will stand in court. They can also have the Maryland law and the divorce process in Rockville, Maryland explained so they can consider the potential benefits of a prenuptial agreement. Given the experience our attorneys have with this, we can ensure your document meets all the necessary requirements so that if you and your partner were to separate it would be enforced rather than nullified in the event a divorce arises.

Separation Agreements

Just as there is an agreement that can be signed prior to a marriage, there is also one that can be prepared when a marriage doesn’t  work out. This type of agreement is referred to as a separation agreement, property agreement or marital settlement agreement. When two individuals decide their marriage isn’t going to work out and there isn’t much room for reconciliation, they may “enter into an oral or written agreement to live apart.” If you decide that you are going to use your separation as your grounds for divorce, your separation agreement can “be used as evidence to obtain the divorce,” according to Maryland’s Department of Human Services.

What belongs in a separation agreement?

Your separation agreement should include, at a minimum, the following:

  • The care, custody, and support of your children.
  • The amount of support one spouse is willing to provide to the other or the proper waiver of support.
  • Provisions for the continuation of health insurance benefits.
  • How you and your spouse plan to divide your property during the time you are living apart as well as what will happen with your property once you file for divorce.
  • The use, maintenance, payment of expenses and sale of real estate.
  • Liabilities for debts.
  • Tax implications, whether for deductions, dependents, type of filing or refund division.
  • Waiver of inheritance and related rights.

Now, if you live in Rockville, MD and are planning on separating from your spouse, it would be in your best interest to contact our office to find out whether you should have a separation agreement. In the event you have any other questions pertaining to either type of agreement mentioned above or a question regarding a different type of family-related matter, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 301-251-6600 so that we can address your concerns.

You can reach Barkley & Kennedy at:
51 Monroe Street, #1407
Rockville, MD 20850