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Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements explained

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2022 | Alimony |

Not all final divorce decrees lead to a 50-50 split among the parties. Several factors could contribute to an uneven distribution of assets. Married couples with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may address mutually agreed upon asset distributions, subject to review in a Maryland court.

The difference between a prenuptial and postnuptial agreement

A prenuptial agreement establishes asset allocations and possibly support amounts before marriage. For example, one spouse may receive a specific amount of spousal support per month for a certain number of years, along with a lump-sum payment upon the dissolution.

A postnuptial agreement serves the same purpose as a prenuptial one. The clear difference is a postnuptial agreement is signed after the couple marries. A postnuptial agreement could replace an earlier prenuptial document although it is possible to sign a postnuptial document even when no prenuptial one exists.

Often, a spouse with significant assets may request the other spouse agree to the terms when the former spouse has few assets. Another reason to draw up such agreements involves protecting the financial standing of any children from a previous marriage. Of course, a person entering a new marriage may want an agreement even when no children are involved.

The validity of pre- and postnuptial agreements

The agreement of both types of agreements must be valid under state law, or the language might end up rejected during divorce proceedings. Persons attempting to draw up these agreements without professional assistance could make avoidable mistakes.

Other legal issues exist. Agreements cannot be signed under duress or fraudulent means as coercion would undermine the document’s legality. A court might also reject the documents if they are too lopsided or seemingly unrealistic.