Can A Prenuptial Agreement In Maryland Be Overturned?
Prenuptial agreements sometimes are reputed to be only for the wealthy, but this is not the case. These agreements are helpful tools for any couple planning marriage who wants to ensure their financial security in case of divorce. Learn below about prenuptial agreements, then speak to our prenuptial agreement attorneys in Rockville at Shah & Kishore if you need legal assistance.
Prenuptial Agreement Overview
A prenuptial agreement in Maryland is a legal agreement between a couple about to marry. While no specific law in Maryland addresses prenups, these documents are governed by contract law. With a prenuptial agreement, you and your future spouse can agree on various property and money-related issues in case of divorce. For example:
- How to deal with property that was obtained before or during the union.
- How to handle inheritances, including what children from a previous marriage will receive compared to those born from the current marriage.
- Whether each party’s retirement accounts will be separate or divided.
- How life insurance policy proceeds will be distributed.
- Each person’s ability to buy and sell property during the union.
- Alimony issues in case of divorce.
However, there are limits to what can be put in a prenuptial agreement. For example, a prenup cannot dictate how child custody or child support will be handled if there is a divorce.
If the prenuptial agreement was drafted and signed according to contract law, it is enforceable when there is a divorce. In most cases, the agreement must be in writing and both parties must sign it. It is strongly recommended to have the signatures verified by a notary public to give the document more validity in potential divorce proceedings.
Also, having a prenuptial agreement drafted by an attorney and accountant create a certified personal financial statement for each party attached to it is ‘the gold standard’ for ensuring its enforceability.
When the prenup is drafted, it is recommended that both parties engage their own prenuptial agreement attorney in Rockville. Each person has separate financial interests that should be protected with their own legal counsel.
Can A Prenup In Maryland Be Overturned?
It is difficult to overturn a Maryland prenuptial agreement drafted correctly and signed by both parties, but possible. If you want the agreement to be set aside, you have the burden of proof. Some reasons that a prenup could be overturned with sufficient evidence are:
A valid prenuptial agreement must have full asset disclosure by both parties; this is essential for the prenup to be fair. If one party did not tell you about all of their money and property, you might be able to overturn the agreement.
Further, if in the prenup, you waived your right to your partner’s property and assets in case of divorce, the court could decide the waiver occurred because of fraud or was coerced. In either situation, the prenuptial agreement could be invalid.
A valid prenuptial agreement cannot include terms about child custody, including if you signed the prenuptial agreement before you had children with your partner. Maryland law requires a child custody agreement to be made in the best interests of the child, which are impossible to determine before the marriage and the child’s birth. Therefore, it is highly likely the court will overturn a prenuptial agreement that includes any language about child custody.
The parties in a prenuptial agreement can typically agree to whatever terms they wish, and the courts will respect them. But the terms cannot be unconscionable. For example, if the contract states that one party will receive almost everything in case of divorce, the prenup could be set aside. Or, it could be overturned if the prenup provides financial incentives for a divorce to occur before a certain date.
Overturning a prenup because of unconscionable terms can be complex, so working with an experienced Maryland prenuptial agreement attorney is critical. They can help you determine if you have legal grounds to overturn the agreement.
If the court thinks that one party was coerced or forced to sign the agreement, such as by not allowing enough legal review, the document might be overturned. For instance, if your fiancé waited until the day before the wedding to have you review the prenup, this could be questioned during divorce.
Also, sometimes a prenup is drafted without one or both parties having an attorney. If this happens, at least one spouse may not fully understand the agreement’s terms. For instance, suppose a couple divorces, and they had a prenup that the man’s attorney drafted. If the woman signed the agreement without an attorney reviewing it, she might not have understood what she was signing.
When there is a divorce, she could be shocked to discover how assets are being divided because she did not understand that part of the agreement. However, in this case, the woman must prove that she did not understand the agreement’s terms, which can be difficult. But, if you did not understand your prenup’s terms, it is possible to have the document overturned with your attorney’s help.
However, it is best to avoid this situation altogether by having your attorney review any written prenuptial agreement. Your personal prenuptial agreement attorney will look after your interests and review the agreement before you sign it.
Another option is a post-nuptial agreement that outlines how property will be divided if there is a divorce. These documents are mostly the same as prenuptial agreements but are signed during marriage. You could sign a postnuptial agreement if you determine later that you want to define asset and property division in case of divorce. A prenuptial agreement attorney in Rockville also can assist with drafting a postnuptial agreement.
Contact Our Prenuptial Agreement Attorneys in Rockville
Maryland courts find most prenuptial agreements valid and enforceable, so it is difficult to overturn one. Also, the spouse challenging the document has the burden of proof that the contract is invalid. However, there are situations where a prenup can be challenged. Contact our prenuptial agreement attorneys in Rockville today for legal assistance by calling (301) 315-0001.