Towson Divorce Lawyers
There are many reasons why a couple wants a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are legal documents that focus not on behavioral expectations during a marriage, but rather on issues about finance, inheritances and division of property should the marriage end in divorce. While each state can make its own laws regarding nuptial agreements, there are some common threads among all jurisdictions. Postnuptial agreements are those which are developed after the couple has been legally married. Most often, these agreements stem from consideration of their benefit after the realities of marriage settle in for the couple, or after there have been significant financial changes in the marital relationship.
Postnuptial vs. Prenuptial Agreements
There are several reasons why a couple may opt for a postnuptial agreement instead of a prenuptial agreement. One factor is simply the romantic aspect that surrounds the dating and engagement phase of the relationship. Couples that decide to marry most often think of the union as a permanent relationship. Once the marriage is official, the couple may soon realize the expectations and commitment required to make a marriage successful require hard work. Understanding the reasons that divorce take place can initiate the postnuptial process.
Postnuptial agreements can also replace a prenuptial agreement that the couple already has in place. Circumstances can change over the life of the marriage, making a postnuptial agreement necessary to address those changes. The postnuptial agreement can protect assets for the couple that starts a business after the marriage takes place or when conflict arises over finances. When the spending habits of a couple differ, there can be significant stress in the marriage. A postnuptial agreement can ensure that one spouse is not responsible for the debt of the other should the marriage end in divorce.
In some marriages, there may be an imbalance of commitment between the spouses that creates doubt that the marriage will be successful. In other marriages, one spouse may have been unfaithful and a lack of trust puts stress on the marriage. A sudden inheritance or financial windfall can also encourage a couple to create a postnuptial agreement to protect the money in the event of a divorce.
A couple may also want to develop a postnuptial agreement to address other issues, such as alimony, division of real estate, bank accounts, retirement and investment accounts, life and health insurance, and to address income tax issues should a divorce occur. While some may think that a postnuptial agreement leads to a divorce, others believe that the postnuptial agreement is a wise financial strategy.
Legalities of a Postnuptial Agreement
Whatever the reason for the postnuptial agreement, there are several factors that need to be considered to ensure that the document is legally valid. First and foremost, the agreement must be impartial. An agreement that is found to be unfair or unconscionable, may not hold up in court. The document’s language must not promote divorce, but should instead define specifics for the division of financial and physical property in the event that a divorce should occur. Child custody issues are never permitted to be a part of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. These issues, along with child support arrangements, must be made separately as part of the divorce process.
When the decision is made to prepare a postnuptial agreement, it is wise to consult independent counsel. Spouses should each retain their own family law attorneys to ensure that their rights are protected when drawing up the agreement and in the event of a divorce.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles LLC Help Couples Prepare Postnuptial Agreements
It’s no surprise to couples considering or maintaining a marital union that divorce can happen. A postnuptial agreement can help a couple make difficult decisions on the division of financial, personal and physical property when their relationship is on solid ground. In the event of a divorce, emotional stress and conflict can complicate this process. The team of knowledgeable Towson divorce lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles LLC has over 30 years of experience in providing counsel and representation in all areas of divorce and family law.
If you or someone you know is considering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, call us at 443-589-0150 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Hunt Valley, Pikesville and Towson, Maryland, allowing us to serve clients throughout Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County, as well as the townships of Baltimore, Towson, Essex, Columbia and Bel Air.