Thank you for joining me. My name is LaSheena Williams and I am a Maryland family law attorney. My firm helps our clients take control of out-of-control domestic situations. Today, we will be discussing the basics of prenuptial agreements.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is an agreement you enter into prior to marrying your partner. The agreement may be called a prenuptial agreement or anti-nuptial agreement, both prenuptial agreements and anti-nuptial agreements are essentially the same thing. These are plans of action in the event that you and your partner divorce what will happen to your assets, your liabilities, and any other concerns that may arise out of the dissolution of your marriage.
Gather Your Financial Information
When preparing a prenuptial agreement, it is important to disclose as much information regarding your assets, liabilities, and other concerns as possible. In order for your attorney to properly prepare your prenuptial agreement, they need to know what assets you have in your bank accounts, what are the values of any stocks or mutual accounts, or any options that you may have with your employer so that that can be listed in your financial disclosure or schedule at the end of your prenuptial agreement.
Disclose, Disclose, Disclose
It is very important to disclose as much of your assets as possible when preparing a prenuptial agreement. A lot of people feel as though they don’t want to share the information regarding their assets because they hope to hide those assets in order to protect them. A prenuptial agreement is essentially insurance if your marriage doesn’t work out, which means for that insurance to work appropriately you need to disclose as much information about the value of your assets as possible. So if the event happens where the opposing party decides they want to set aside that agreement or the opposing party wants to request an interest in your assets, they are prevented from doing that because of the fact that you disclosed and they knew what those assets were at the time they entered into this agreement.
Discuss the Agreement with Your Partner Prior to Presenting It
I think it’s important for you to discuss entering into a prenuptial agreement before you present that agreement to your partner. I don’t think you have to necessarily discuss that prior to having one drafted but I do think it’s important that you discuss it with them prior to handing them a sheaf of papers and saying please sign these documents. I think it helps because some people may be shocked that you’re making this request or some people may be offended and you don’t want them to be shocked you don’t want them to be offended, this is the person you’re hoping to marry but you’re also hoping to protect your assets. So, ideally, you want to discuss this with them before you present them the prenuptial agreement so that they become at least used to the idea of disagreement impacting a potential divorce in the future.
Consider Ensuring Your Partner Has Representation
I think it’s very important that your partner has an attorney. Some people feel uncomfortable about making sure their partner has an attorney because it may seem as if they’re paying for their partner to object but again, if you’re looking at prenuptial agreements as if they’re marriage insurance, your partner having an attorney is more efficient for you because if your partner later decides that they no longer agree to the terms of your prenuptial agreement or they later decide that they want to set aside that agreement, you’re protected because they had an attorney explain their rights to them and it wasn’t your attorney and all those rights were explained to them before they signed the agreement and they still knowingly signed the agreement. Them having an attorney makes the agreement more binding and less likely to be the subject of later being overturned or set aside by a court.
Execute Prior to Marriage
Again, this may be a non a no-brainer but for some people they may feel the need to enter into a prenuptial agreement after they get married. I don’t advise to do that. I think it’s important to do that prior to your marriage because the marriage is essentially the collateral for the agreement. It simply goes without saying that if you don’t have the prenuptial agreement, the consideration for the prenuptial agreement is the marriage. If you’re already married what is the consideration? Why should I give up potential rights that I have to your assets after I’m married? There is no real consideration there if we’re already married so ideally to protect your interest and make sure your agreement is enforceable and is not set aside, it’s preferred that you enter into the prenuptial agreement prior to your marriage.
If you have any further questions about prenuptial agreements or any other domestic related issues please subscribe to my YouTube channel for future updates or please feel free to give us a call at 301-778-9950 to speak with an attorney today.