The purpose of a prenuptial agreement (sometimes also called an antenuptial agreement) is to alter the rights and duties that typically arise out of a marriage, including property, support, and inheritance. The main issues that prenups address are: (1) how do we manage our finances during the marriage? (2) what happens if we get divorced? and (3) what happens if one of us dies? A prenup typically cannot control custody or child support in the event of a divorce, as the court generally must approve a custody and child support arrangement established pursuant to a divorce.
Four reasons you may need a prenup:
- You are bringing property into the marriage that you want to protect in the event of divorce or death;
- You have children from a prior relationship, and you want to make sure that they will inherit from you in the event of your death;
- You own a business and you want to protect your business, and potentially your business partners, in the event of divorce; or
- You want to limit the right to claim spousal support in the event of divorce.
One benefit of a prenup is that it provides certainty in the event of a divorce. A drawback of a prenup is that a prenup often involves one or both parties giving up certain rights that they would otherwise have in the event of divorce or death of the other party. As a result, when evaluating whether to sign a prenup and what terms it should contain, both parties should consider whether either spouse may make choices during the marriage that will disproportionately affect their earning power, such as deciding to take time out of the workforce to raise children.
The two most important things to do when considering a prenup are: (1) talk with your future spouse about your goals, even if it is an awkward and difficult conversation; and (2) retain an attorney who has experience with drafting and negotiating prenups well before your planned wedding date.
If you have questions about this or any other Family Law issue please contact Catherine H. “Kate” McQueen at (240) 507-1718 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT KATE MCQUEEN
Catherine H. “Kate” McQueen is a family lawyer and principal in Offit Kurman’s Bethesda office and is licensed to practice in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Ms. McQueen focuses her practice on the many legal issues that impact families, including all the issues arising out of a divorce, such as custody, child support, alimony, and other financial and property issues. She also has extensive experience in guardianship matters for children and incapacitated adults, including assisting clients in petitioning for guardianship, serving as court-appointed counsel for alleged disabled persons, and serving as court-appointed guardian for individuals when their family members or friends are unwilling or unable to do so.
ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN
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