Many people still consider prenuptial agreements as unromantic and "jinxing" the marriage. In reality, these agreements can make marriages stronger. Negotiating and drafting a prenup forces couples to discuss their individual financial circumstances and beliefs.
Asking for a prenup provides you and your intended partner with a good time to have a frank and honest conversation about a topic that makes most people uncomfortable -- money. It also causes a great deal of tension in a marriage and can lead to divorce. Some may say that asking for a prenup could give you a better chance at a successful marriage, which would be quite romantic.
Would a prenuptial agreement work for you?
If you hesitate to breach the subject with your future spouse, it may help to determine whether such an agreement would even help your circumstances. Below are some of the benefits of a prenup:
- Each party takes responsibility for debts he or she brings into the marriage.
- Each party identifies separate property he or she brings into the marriage.
- You can outline any special agreements between you such as waiving spousal support or an inheritance.
- You can decide property division issues to keep them out of any divorce proceedings
- Having the agreement in place could reduce any potential conflicts in the event of a divorce
Your prenuptial agreement must also reflect a fair settlement of the issues it contains. Leaving one party with a financial disadvantage would not sit well with a Maryland court. You should also know that you cannot deal with child support or custody issues in a prenuptial agreement. These agreements are for financial issues between you and your future spouse. Any other conditions will more than likely not stand up in court.
If you make the decision to ask your future spouse for a prenuptial agreement, you will then need to follow state laws regarding its execution. In general, each of you should have enough time to carefully consider the agreement and at least take the opportunity to have it reviewed by an attorney. It's crucial that you establish now that each party enters into the agreement voluntarily, understands its contents and doesn't feel pressured to sign it.
If the agreement does not comply with all applicable laws, it could be ruled invalid in whole or in part by the court in the event of a divorce. If that happens, you could end up starting from scratch during a time when you aren't getting along as you are now.