3 Important Features Of Prenuptial Agreements In Maryland
Before a couple actually gets married, Maryland family law allows them to enter into a valid and enforceable contract. Referred to legally as a prenuptial agreement, these contracts can address certain rights in the event of divorce, such as property rights and alimony or spousal support.
Although prenuptial agreements are typically valid and enforceable, there are exceptions. Perhaps most importantly, prenuptial agreements require a full and complete disclosure of earnings, assets, and property.
If either party fails to provide full disclosure, the Maryland courts may strike down the prenuptial agreement. As a result, it is imperative to provide comprehensive financial disclosure when creating and executing a prenuptial agreement in Maryland.
Returning to the topic at hand, the legal boundaries of prenuptial agreements appear under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-101. This section provides vital clarity into several acceptable and unacceptable aspects of prenuptial agreements in Maryland.
- Prenuptial Agreements May Address Property Rights
Prenuptial agreements may address property rights under Maryland law. In this context, a couple can decide possession of certain types of property before marriage, regardless of how such property is owned or titled.
In terms of property rights, there are two major categories:
- Personal Property — Personal property is often defined as anything that is tangible and movable. Examples of personal property include vehicles, jewelry, clothing, furniture, books, etc.
- Real Property — Real property is often defined as land and immovable in nature. Examples of real property include land or real estate and any improvements affixed or integrated to the land.
Under Maryland law, prenuptial agreements may address and resolve issues relating to real or personal property. If such an agreement is valid, the Maryland courts must honor the terms governing property rights.
- Prenuptial Agreements May Address Alimony & Spousal Support
Prenuptial agreements may address rights concerning alimony or spousal support under Maryland law. Generally speaking, alimony and similar types of support are designed to address financial differences and assist with regaining self-sufficiency.
During the process of a divorce, the Maryland courts will usually determine the amount and duration of any spousal support at the same time. But a prenuptial agreement can settle alimony and support issues before court invention.
For example, a prenuptial agreement may set the amount and duration of support in advance of marriage. Alternatively, prenuptial agreements may include a waiver of any right to alimony or spousal support. In either case, the Maryland courts are bound by valid prenuptial agreements that address spousal support.
- Prenuptial Agreements Cannot Address Child Custody/Support
Prenuptial agreements cannot address child custody and support under Maryland law. When there are children involved, the Maryland courts use an additional lens to evaluate issues of custody and support. In these situations, the courts must protect a child’s best interests in making any determination concerning custody or support.
Based on the required considerations at play, child custody and support are issues that remain strictly within the domain of the Maryland courts. Even if a prenuptial agreement attempts to decide these issues before marriage, any such provisions are likely invalid or unenforceable.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about prenuptial agreements in Maryland, it’s important to reach out to a skilled Bel Air prenuptial agreement attorney. The team at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered is prepared to help you today.