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How a Prenuptial Agreement Can Impact Your Divorce

Given the consistently high divorce rates in modern times, many couples consider it prudent to establish a prenuptial agreement before the wedding. A prenup can protect both spouses, although each of them should consult their own family lawyer in Owings Mills before signing the document. If the marriage doesn’t last, a divorce attorney can offer state-specific guidance regarding the impact of the prenup on the divorce settlement.

The Benefits of a Prenup

Divorce doesn’t always have to be a long, drawn-out process filled with arguments and ill will. Divorce mediation is a viable alternative, and having a prenuptial agreement in place may make mediation more likely to succeed. That’s because a prenup can take care of many of the issues that need to be settled before a divorce is finalized. Even if mediation doesn’t succeed in settling the rest of the issues, or if you and your spouse would rather not try mediation, having a prenup in place can lessen the headaches of a court proceeding. It may reduce discovery, and in doing so, reduce legal fees.

The Disadvantage of a Prenup

The main downside of prenuptial agreements isn’t one that will apply to every divorcing couple. It will occur if your spouse decides to contest the validity of the agreement. Your spouse will need a legally acceptable reason for asserting that the agreement is invalid. Even if grounds to contest the validity are lacking, the process of proving the validity of the document can make the divorce take much longer. A valid prenup is one that was not prepared or signed with any of the following present:

  • Fraud (i.e., hiding assets)

  • Duress or coercion

  • Incompetence

  • Undue influence

  • Mistakes

  • Unconscionable or grossly unfair

It’s worth noting that most prenuptial agreements are found to be valid. If you had your prenup prepared by a family court lawyer, it’s almost certainly going to hold up in court.

The Ways Your Prenup Can Work for You

The exact ways in which your prenup will affect your divorce depends on its provisions. Bring a copy of the agreement to your consult with the lawyer. Your prenup may affect the following areas:

  • Retirement accounts

  • Alimony

  • Life insurance policies

  • Division of debts and assets

If you share children with your spouse, your prenup cannot legally affect child custody or child support arrangements.

Categories: Divorce