4 Aspects Of Postnuptial Agreements Under Maryland Family Law
A postnuptial agreement is a type of enforceable contract that can exist between spouses under Maryland law. Unlike prenuptial agreements — which are executed before marriage — postnuptial agreements come into play after marriage. Although postnuptial agreements are valid and enforceable in Maryland, these contracts are subject to certain restrictions.
- Maryland Postnuptial Agreements are Valid
Under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-101, postnuptial agreements are typically valid under state law. More specifically, this section enables spouses to enter into valid and enforceable:
- Deeds; and
In terms of subject matter, these agreements, deeds, and settlements may relate to:
- Property rights; or
- Personal rights.
Most notably, postnuptial agreements are restricted in terms of the care, custody, education, or support of any minor child of the spouses. This restriction exists because the Maryland courts are responsible for protecting the best interests of children. Accordingly, the Maryland courts must approve any agreement between spouses that relates to the care, custody, education, or support of any minor child.
- Maryland Postnuptial Agreements Cannot Bar Divorce
Under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-102, postnuptial agreements cannot prevent limited or absolute divorce. This restriction applies regardless of whether agreement was entered into:
- When the spouses were living together;
- When the spouses were living apart; or
- Before, after, or while the grounds for divorce arose.
- Postnuptial Agreements Can Be Modified in Maryland
Under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-103, it is possible to modify postnuptial agreements. From a general standpoint, the Maryland courts may modify any provision of a postnuptial agreement that relates to the care, custody, education, or support of any minor child of the spouses.
Additionally, the Maryland courts may modify any provision of a postnuptial agreement that relates to alimony or spousal support, unless:
- There is an express waiver of alimony or spousal support; or
- A provision specifically excludes alimony or spousal support from court modification.
- Maryland Courts Can Enforce Postnuptial Agreements
Under Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-105, the state courts can enforce postnuptial agreements. The Maryland courts may exercise their contempt powers to enforce the provisions of any agreement, deed, or settlement that is merged into an order for divorce.
Furthermore, the Maryland courts may exercise their contempt powers to enforce the provisions of any agreement, deed, or settlement that is incorporated — but not merged — into an order for divorce. In this context, the Maryland courts may also enforce such agreements, deeds, or settlements as independent contracts.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about postnuptial agreements in Maryland, it can be highly constructive to reach out to a trusted Bel Air postnuptial agreement attorney. The attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law, including postnuptial agreements. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.