Agreements, Deeds, & Settlements Between Married Couples in Maryland
When it comes to legal contracts between spouses, a commonly discussed option deals with prenuptial agreements that were made before marriage. But there are also many forms of postnuptial agreements that a couple can enter into after marriage. Specifically, Maryland law allows a married couple to enter into agreements or deeds as well as reach a settlement concerning certain aspects of their marriage.
Agreements, Deeds, & Settlements
As established in Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-101, a married couple is allowed to enter into certain agreements, deeds, or settlements with each other. That being said, these rights only apply to certain aspects of marriage.
Maryland law allows a married couple to execute deeds and agreements or reach a settlement relating to:
- Child Support;
- Property Rights; or
- Personal Rights.
Impact on Divorce
As explained in Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-102, entering into an agreement, deed, or settlement does not bar either spouse from pursuing a divorce. Section 8-102 provides that an action for divorce may continue even if the spouses executed an agreement or deed:
- While living in the same home or in different places; or
- Before, during, or after the existence of grounds for divorce.
As detailed in Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-103, a court of law is allowed to modify certain provisions of agreements, deeds, and settlements between spouses. Precisely, the Maryland courts are allowed to modify any provision concerning:
- Child care, custody, education, or support, if doing so would be in the best interests of the child; and
- Alimony or spousal support, unless either party expressly waives such support or the document clearly excludes such modification by a court.
Power of Courts
As underlined in Maryland Code of Family Law Section 8-105, a court of law may use its powers to enforce or modify agreements, deeds, and settlements between spouses.
The Maryland courts are allowed to use the power of contempt to enforce the provisions of an agreement, deed, or lease in two situations:
- Merger — A court may enforce any provisions that were merged into a divorce decree; and
- Incorporation — The court may enforce by power of contempt or as an independent contract any provisions that were incorporated into with a divorce decree but not actually merged.
Additionally, the Maryland courts are allowed to modify any provision of an agreement, deed, or settlement when those provisions:
- Were incorporated into a divorce decree, even in the absence of merger; and
- Are subject to modification under Section 8-103.
Let Us Help You Today
If you have legal questions about agreements, deeds, or settlements between spouses in Maryland, it can be exceedingly helpful to reach out to an accomplished Bel Air family lawyer. Based in Bel Air, Maryland, the attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson, Chartered have more than 60 years of combined legal experience in family and criminal law, including agreements, deeds, and settlements between spouses. If you need legal help, contact us today for an initial consultation.