What is a nuptial agreement, and do you need one?
While it may not be the most romantic topic, it is one you should have with your partner if you or your partner is wealthy, if either of you has a large inheritance, children from a prior relationship, or are entering your second or more marriage. A nuptial agreement is a legally binding contract that establishes how a couple will divide their assets if their marriage dissolves.
A prenuptial agreement is negotiated and signed before you marry.
The agreement can set forth the terms and conditions of how much money one spouse will provide to another and how marital assets will be divided. It can even address if one spouse is the cause for the end of the marriage and how the other spouse will be taken care of. Prenups are essential when one member of a couple has significant assets, a large estate, children from a previous marriage, or expectations of receiving a large inheritance or distribution from a family trust. A prenuptial agreement aims to ensure that the couple addresses how any asset earned or acquired before they are married will be divided and sets forth what happens to that asset if the marriage ends.
A postnuptial agreement is negotiated and signed after you are already married.
Once married, the laws on how marital assets are divided differ in each state. A postnuptial agreement allows spouses to contractually decide how their marital assets, including properties, bank accounts, retirement, and investments, will be divided if the marriage ends. Postnuptial agreements are widespread for spouses who didn’t have many assets when they first married. However, once married, one of them may be getting an inheritance or have come into money due to their careers taking off.
Both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are legally binding contracts, so you must seek legal counsel before signing one. Prenuptial agreements are not in effect until you say, “I do.” However, a postnuptial agreement is binding as soon as it is signed.
Although it may not be the most romantic conversation, you should have these conversations to ensure that if you get a divorce, it won’t be as emotionally tolling or drawn out because you had already decided how to divide your finances before things got bad. Being able to quickly and amicably handle the financial details after you’ve decided to part ways can remove some of the pain from the divorce process.
About Andalman & Flynn, P.C.: Founded in 1998 in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland, Andalman & Flynn has forged a distinguished reputation for legal excellence. The Firm practices family law, estate planning, and probate throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia, and represents individuals seeking disability benefits throughout the country. The Firm focuses on cases that impact the rights of everyone and is there for clients when responsive legal help is most critical. The Firm has provided legal analysis on national and local television and radio, and its attorneys often testify before legislative bodies and are routinely invited to contribute to prominent legal publications. For more information about Andalman & Flynn, please visit the website at andalmanflynn.com or call 301.563.6685.