Baltimore Prenuptial Agreement

There are many reasons to consider entering into a prenuptial agreement prior to your wedding.  A Baltimore Prenuptial Agreement lawyer can help explain the reasons for a prenuptial agreement and whether it is a good fit for your situation.

Some common questions are:

How do I protect my premarital assets during a marriage and in the event of divorce?

How can I avoid a costly and contentious divorce like my parents experienced?

How can I make sure I am protected in case of divorce but I haven’t worked during the marriage?

These questions have important answer and if you are asking these question than a consultation with a Baltimore prenuptial lawyer may be right for you.

Maryland Prenuptial Agreements

Maryland does not have a uniform prenuptial or premarital agreement statute addressing prenuptial agreements.  Until 1984, prenuptial agreements were frowned upon by Maryland Courts.  However, Maryland family law now allows people before and after marriage to enter into enforceable agreements (contracts) to resolve their issues especially property distribution, alimony and attorney’s fees.

It is important that each potential spouse consult with a lawyer to review the prenuptial agreement prior to signing.

Under Maryland Law a court will evaluate the validity of prenuptial agreement.  Generally, the test that a Maryland Court will apply to uphold or overturn the agreement is” whether there was overreaching, that is, whether in the atmosphere and environment of the confidential relationship there was unfairness or inequity in the result of the agreement or in its procurement. Frank, full and truthful disclosure of what is being relinquished (or in lieu thereof actual knowledge otherwise available or obtained) is the key that turns the lock of the door leading to impregnable validity.” Harbom v. Harbom, 134 Md. App. 430, 741 (2000)

Usually, if each party is represented and fully advised of their rights, courts will uphold an otherwise valid Maryland prenuptial agreement.

To ensure that the prenuptial agreement is valid and enforceable it is a good idea to call a Baltimore prenuptial agreement lawyer to draft and explain the law to you.  A person should never sign a prenuptial agreement without first consulting with a lawyer because of the many rights you may be giving up that you did not know you had or did not care to consider at this time in your life.

Contact a Baltimore prenuptial agreement lawyer David D. Nowak 443-470-9071

Each case is different so you should consult an attorney to receive legal advice for your specific situation.  This post is for general legal information and is not legal advice.


Are Renewable Marriage Contracts the Future?

Lawmakers in Mexico have proposed a new concept in family law; the automatically terminating marriage contract. From the BBC  

That’s right, no serving divorce papers on the other side, no protracted custody litigation in the courthouse, no more lawyers working out the details, really no divorce at all.

The proposed law makes each new marriage a contract for a set time period selected by the couple with the minimal time period being two years.  At the end of each term, the couple will have to agree to renew their marriage contract for another term of years, or the contract terminates along with the bonds of marriage.  (Presumably they can also renegotiate the terms of the marriage at each new contract renewal).

The theory is that the couple, prior to the marriage ceremony, will sign a pre-nuptial agreement resolving all of their potential issues before the marriage contract is signed.  The lawmakers believe that individuals will enter the marriage with a much better understanding of their rights and obligations during the marriage, and in the event of a non-renewal of the contract (read: Divorce) each party knows where they stand.  Alimony, property rights, and other issues would be decided well in advance, and the parties will be saved the emotional and financial difficulties that arise during divorce litigation.

Interesting concept, is this a better option than our current ideas of marriage?

Settlement during Divorce

Most people cannot image coming to any type of agreement with their worst enemy; their soon to be ex-spouse.  However, coming to a compromise and settling your case is probably the most important thing you can do to make the divorce process easier.

Many divorce clients come to me with an initial scorched earth mentality.  They are not thinking clearly, and their emotions are clouding their judgment.  This is the time when the objective advice of an experienced family law attorney is critical.  Clients in this position need to know 1) the law, 2) how judges in their jurisdiction tend to apply that law to the client’s facts, 3) what other options there are to litigation, such as mediation, 4) the estimated costs of pursing a particular course of action (such as the fee for legal services), 5) what a realistic “win” looks like for them, and 6) they need to do a cost-benefit analysis to ensure that the costs of a plan of action do not outweigh the benefits they are likely to receive.  Only an experienced family law attorney can effectively provide you with the advice you need to make these important decisions.

What is a good Settlement?  The answer to this question is case-by-case, client-by-client.  Ultimately, your goals, if reasonable, should be met by settlement.  The focus here is what are your goals?  It may be that you want primary physical custody of the children, perhaps you want a larger percentage of the retirement fund, or maybe you just want a clean break and split everything 50/50.  The idea is that the client’s goals should be met but the client must also be willing to compromise so that the other party feels that their own needs and goals are being met.  Frequently settlements are win-win situations.  Once an agreement is reached through negotiations, mediation, or other discussions, and both sides understand what the other side wants; your attorney can draft a Separation Agreement that puts in writing the terms of your agreement.  At the final divorce hearing, which may be up to a year later, a Judge will frequently review the agreement and incorporate it into the final divorce decree.

Sometimes settlement is not an option.  For instance, if one party is unreasonable, and refuses to settle the case, then you will typically have to go before a judge to have the judge make the decisions.  The path to litigation is frequently expensive and mentally draining on the participants.  During litigation both parties are constantly confronted with uncomfortable legal issues from their spouse.  This leads to even more resentment and an impractical entrenching of positions.   Settlement, when possible, saves more than time and money, it may also hasten the healing that both parties need to move on with their lives.

Pro-Tips when it comes to Settlements:

1)      Always have an attorney draft and review the agreement prior to you signing anything.

2)      If the other side has an attorney you should get an attorney.

3)      Don’t try to do your divorce “on the cheap” by not consulting attorneys.  Spending money on an attorney up front will save you serious disappointment and money in the future.