Most people in Maryland have heard of prenuptial agreements. Probably fewer people, however, are familiar with postnuptial agreements. Many family law attorneys confirm that prenuptial agreements — which protect both spouses and their assets (and debts) in the event the marriage ends in divorce — are becoming increasingly more popular. Postnuptial agreements, while still less common than prenups, have become more popular in recent years. They achieve a similar goal but are prepared after a couple weds rather than before.
Why sign a postnuptial agreement?
Couples may choose to wait until after marrying to prepare an agreement for a variety of reasons. Some couples simply see the reality of marriage only after the wedding and may only then realize the benefits of having such a document. For others, financial circumstances may have changed, such as one spouse winning the lottery. Couples may prepare a postnuptial agreement as an estate planning tool or as protection in the case of one spouse planning to open a business. In some cases, spouses wish to alter terms in an existing prenuptial agreement, leading them to prepare a postnuptial agreement.
What is included in a postnuptial agreement?
A couple can tailor a postnuptial agreement to suit their particular circumstances and needs, and it can be as brief or as lengthy as necessary. Typically, spouses include decisions about each of their assets, alimony and maintenance expectations, and possibly other items. A postnup can be a good idea for many couples, but people thinking about preparing one and wanting to find out if this option suits their needs should first consult with an attorney. They will need to provide a list of their assets and debts prior to discussing their goals and concerns with the attorney.
Certainly, no one wants to think that their marriage may one day end in divorce. The reality is that many marriages do end this way, and people are wise to plan for such a possibility in advance, when they are getting along well with each other and able to work together. For many reasons, some couples wait until after the “I do’s” to take this step. Maryland couples considering a postnuptial agreement can start with sitting down with an attorney experienced in family law who can answer their questions and guide them through the process.