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Circumstances when Maryland courts can invalidate your prenup

On Behalf of | Jul 20, 2022 | Divorce, Family Law

A prenuptial agreement can be a very useful tool when getting into marriage because it can protect your interests in the event of a contentious divorce or death. Maryland family courts often honor provisions in couples’ agreements and even use them when splitting assets. However, there are circumstances when a judge can overturn a prenup.

Purpose of a prenup in Maryland

A prenuptial agreement, or “prenup,” is a contract you and your spouse-to-be sign before marriage. In it, you’ll each list your separate property (assets you owned before marriage) and agree on how to divide your shared property in the event of a divorce or death.

You can also use it for other purposes, like agreeing on whether you’ll have joint or separate bank accounts and how you’ll handle financial decisions during the marriage. A prenup can even spell out your expectations for things like housework and child-rearing.

Most couples see prenups as a way to protect themselves financially in case their marriage doesn’t work out. Some use them to avoid arguments about money later on. And still, others see them as a way to keep the peace between families with different levels of wealth.

Circumstances that can make Maryland courts overturn a prenup

Although the court will honor almost everything you agree on, the Maryland Code Of Family Law Section 8-103 limits what you can do in a prenup. For example, you can’t use a prenuptial agreement to:

  • Waive your right to alimony
  • Agree on child custody or visitation arrangements
  • Decide how much child support one spouse will pay the other
  • Determine which state’s laws will govern your divorce proceedings

You also can’t include anything illegal in your prenup, like an agreement to commit perjury or refrain from reporting a crime. If you do, the court may void the whole agreement.

A prenup may have a bad rap; it’s even a very challenging topic to broach when getting married. But, it can be essential in protecting yourself and your property in Maryland. The only catch is that it must be crafted with complete honesty and by following all the state laws that govern it.