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How couples can benefit from a prenuptial agreement

When two people decide to end their marriage, they may be putting their faith in a divorce system that may less than predictable. A Maryland court generally has the power to divide assets in any way that it deems to be fair. However, a prenuptial agreement may provide some predictability as to what happens to assets after a divorce.

Most couples come to an agreement that allows whoever brought an asset into a marriage to keep it when the marriage ends. It may also be possible for a couple to determine on their own whether or not alimony will be paid to either person and how much will be paid. Without such an agreement, alimony may be determined based on state law or other factors, and the person with more money generally ends up paying alimony to the person making less money.

While it may not seem romantic to ask for a prenuptial agreement, it may be vital to protecting an individual's future. In some cases, half of a retirement account balance may be lost to the other spouse in a divorce. Without a prenuptial agreement, it may also be possible to have estate plans altered because the other spouse may have a legal claim to them even if that person was the intended recipient.

As the end of a marriage may be an emotional time, it may be a good idea to have a prenuptial agreement spell out the terms of how property is divided or spousal support is allocated. Each party should have separate legal counsel during the negotiations. To be valid, the document generally must be created and signed well in advance of the wedding date.

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