While most people in Montgomery County, MD have heard of a prenuptial agreement, many people are unfamiliar with the term “postnuptial agreement.” The two are quite similar. The main difference is that a postnuptial agreement is signed by both parties after they are married, rather than before they are married. It is sometimes seen as a precursor to separation or divorce, but this is not always the case.
A postnuptial agreement is a consenting agreement between husband and wife that may be drawn up by a Maryland family attorney. A postnuptial agreement is treated as a contract according to the law. It allows the couple a chance to predetermine rights of support, custody and property, as well as how to divide items such as businesses, retirement plans, stocks and debts should the marriage end in divorce or the death of one spouse.
There are many different reasons why a couple might want their Maryland family lawyer to draw up a postnuptial agreement. For example, they may be considering the possibility of separation. This safeguards the rights and property of both parties in the event of a divorce. This may be a preferred way to handle sensitive issues, such as future spousal or child support. Another reason is that finances, health or lifestyles may cause the couple to spend a lot of time apart due to their careers or perhaps their financial or family responsibilities. Making a clear definition of the respective and collective rights of property and finances is one way to provide guidelines which may be enforced in the event of a separation, divorce, death, child custody or child support issue down the road.
Like a prenuptial agreement, the mere existence of a postnuptial agreement does not mean that the married couple will someday be separated or divorced or they don’t trust each other, but rather that they are taking the time now to sort out possible future arrangements should they be needed. This makes any changes in the couple’s marital status easier to process, since the groundwork has already been laid.
While some married couples may decide to draw up their own postnuptial agreements, it is always a good idea to seek the counsel of a Montgomery County lawyer so that both parties can be sure it is done correctly and that it will be legally binding. It is also important that both parties have a firm understanding of what they are agreeing to and under what circumstances.