Preparing a Postnuptial Agreement in Maryland or DC

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Unlike prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements get drawn up after you marry your spouse. There are many reasons that one or both spouses would consider entering into a marital contract. From resolving marital differences to addressing financial worries while still working on their union, postnuptial agreements can provide a sense of security for some couples. Outside of relationship issues, you may be considering this type of contract because your spouse is planning to create a business that you fear is too risky. A postnuptial agreement can help protect you against some liability by detailing who holds the risk for future claims against the venture.

How a Postnuptial Agreement Is Different From a Prenuptial Agreement in DC or Maryland

As marital property states, Maryland and DC take both the husband and wife’s assets and divides this property equitably between both parties should they divorce regardless on how it is titled. A Postnuptial agreement, much like a prenuptial agreement, can help safeguard some assets against this process so long as the contract is equitable. Spouses also rely on postnuptial agreements to protect a new family business, minimize debt liability brought on by their partner, or clarify their financial responsibilities during their marriage.

The primary difference between these two marital contracts is that couples create a prenuptial agreement before marriage and enter a postnuptial agreement after saying “I do.” Postnuptial agreements were usually unenforceable until recently, but since states had begun adopting “no-fault” divorce laws, these have become more widely popular.

Like prenuptial agreements, both parties need to have their own attorneys representing their interests during the negotiation process. However, one spouse can have their attorney draw up the initial agreement.

What is the Purpose of a Postnuptial Agreement?

Postnuptial agreements are beneficial when couples wish to clarify property rights and expectations of each party’s marital responsibilities. If you plan to draw up a postnuptial agreement, you may consider addressing some of the following issues into its provisions:
  • Determine what property will be classified as non-marital property should you divorce
  • Set up alimony provisions
  • Dictate responsibilities for your death benefits or life insurance policies
  • Clarify what debt you are willing to be responsible for
  • Protect your stake in the ownership of a family business and related liabilities
  • Outline the inheritance rights of your children from another relationship
Postnuptial agreements are also helpful when wanting to address what should you or your spouse die unexpectedly. With that said, there are several issues that a postnuptial agreement can never address, including:
These are not part of the postnuptial agreement process because the law requires your children’s best interests to be taken into consideration by the family court. While these marital contracts can be a sort of blueprint as to what will happen should your marriage end in divorce, many couples find it helpful in further solidifying their marriage and making it worthwhile to put in the effort to resolve their issues.

Enforceability of DC or Maryland Postnuptial Agreements

Should you or your spouse dispute the validity of a postnuptial agreement, the court will take into account several factors to determine enforceability, including: 
  • The terms are reasonable
  • Both parties receive equitable benefit from the agreement
  • You and your spouse gave an honest disclosure of assets and property 
  • Neither of you was coerced into agreeing
  • Both spouses had the opportunity for a lawyer to review it or knowingly waived their right for review
If the agreement you and your spouse create is not equitable or heavily favors one of you over the other, a court will likely not enforce it should you divorce. You must have a knowledgeable marital contract attorney review its terms to protect your rights and ensure enforceability. 

Postnuptial Agreement Attorneys That Look Out For Your Best Interests

The factors that could cause you or your spouse to seek a postnup can range widely. The result is the same: clarifying specific financial and marital responsibilities as agreed upon in a contract. Before deciding on any marital contract, it is crucial to speak with an experienced postnuptial agreement attorney at The Law Offices of Thomas Stahl. As a recognized Super Lawyer since 2013, Mr. Stahl has proven time and again his dedication to ensuring his clients are aware of the laws surrounding marital contracts and the impacts it could have should they divorce. Contact his firm today at (410) 696-4326 or (202) 964-7280, or submit a consultation request online to learn more about your postnuptial agreement questions.

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