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Maryland prenuptial agreements: Never in the shadow of the altar

Some things in life just seem to develop a bad reputation. It's true that prenuptial agreements are associated with divorce. Suggesting them is not like deciding where to go on honeymoon or choosing the flower arrangements for the wedding reception. Having premarital conversations about money are usually brief, reticent and uncomfortable. Yet, Maryland family law attorneys can bear witness to the value of prenups -- not just as important divorce documents -- but as mainstays of well-launched marriages.

Couples would do well to engage in such discussions, as a matter of course, before tying the knot. After all, in single life, money is often a pre-eminent concern. Couples about to marry may find that drafting a prenuptial agreement is a liberating experience, dispelling many doubts or misgivings about embarking on a fully shared life. According to experts, holding fragmented, brief and incomplete talks about assets, debts, obligations and the like will likely lead to serious financial problems later on.

In addition, knowing what will happen if the unforeseen occurs lends a sense of security to both the marriage and whatever may follow. Alternatively, a partner who persuades a future mate to sign a prenuptial agreement under duress or without due care will not find favor in a divorce proceeding. Such agreements viewed as signed "in the shadow of the altar" are frowned upon in court.

Some financial advisers specialize in helping couples understand how they each handle finances. Known as "onboarding," this deep self-searching complements the knowledge and invaluable advice a Maryland family law professional can offer. It may not seem as romantic as choosing a home together, but prenuptial agreements can create trust and, possibly, promote marriage longevity. 

Source: The New York Times, "Getting Married? Forget Sweet Nothings; Let's Talk About Money", Paul Sullivan, May 22, 2018

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