When to Consider a Postnuptial Agreement in Maryland

Most people have heard of a prenuptial agreement (prenup), but have you heard of a postnuptial agreement? Postnuptial agreements are becoming more popular amongst married couples in Maryland.


Prenuptial Agreements vs. Postnuptial Agreements

Despite taboos in earlier years, prenuptial agreements have become universally known and widely used. What was once viewed as an unromantic and even downright foreboding contract between two soon-to-be-married partners, is now accepted as a sensible way to protect assets before entering into a marital arrangement. This is especially true as more couples decide to marry later in life after their careers have already been established. 

Lesser known, however, and useful in many circumstances, are postnuptial agreements. Postnuptial agreements are legally enforceable contracts entered into during marriage that govern the couple’s assets in the event of divorce. In Maryland, already married couples can legally enter contracts governing their finances, with limited exceptions (Maryland Code, Family Law Section 8-101). 

Postnuptial agreements can be a useful tool for clarifying ownership and rights to personal property between a couple, thereby promoting harmony in marriage by eliminating the stress of financial uncertainty for either or both spouses.

Similar to prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements benefit both parties in allowing for a more level-headed, amicable disposition of finances than often occurs in the heat of a divorce. Postnuptial contracts are also like prenuptial agreements in that they ensure that the delays and imposition of a court’s disposition of marital property will be circumvented in place of more expeditious and customized needs of the couple. Postnuptial agreements also help promote goodwill and family unity if divorce occurs. Additionally, costs are minimized by avoiding protracted litigation, benefiting all parties including the children. 

Like prenuptial agreements, marital property, aspects of alimony, income tax, life insurance, health insurance, retirement benefits, and other financials may be disposed of under postnuptial agreements. Child support and child custody may not be agreed upon as part of a pre or postnuptial contract, as courts maintain the authority to determine the best interests of the children. Postnuptial agreements have an advantage over prenups in that the couple has more knowledge of their actual post-marital circumstances and routines and may be better informed to fine-tune their financial needs than they would have been before the marriage.


When to Consider a Postnuptial Agreement

Some of the reasons couples may choose to execute a postnuptial agreement include the following:

  • The couple intended to execute a prenuptial agreement but simply ran out of time during the busy pre-wedding stage.
  • The couple had not intently considered their financials pre-wedding but decided after the marriage that it is wise to agree upon well before any potential marital breakdown.
  • A party is seeking protection and peace of mind following a significant marital rift or incident of infidelity.
  • A change in finances, including the acquisition of a business, significant inheritance, job loss, or new salary structure leads one or both parties to seek financial clarity in the event of a divorce.
  • Financial imbalances because of unexpected homemaking or child-rearing responsibilities, etc., become apparent after the marriage, and the lesser monied spouse seeks financial assurance.
  • A dispute arises between the already married couple regarding a significant aspect of their finances or future financial plans.


Postnuptial Agreement Requirements

As with prenups, a postnuptial agreement must be in writing and signed by both spouses. Accounts of discussions, or oral agreements, are not enforceable. Both spouses must disclose their assets and debts before signing unless both spouses agree to waive the right to receive this information. A postnuptial agreement must be signed when spouses are of sound mind, and not under fraud or duress. 

Each party should retain their own attorney to ensure their best interests are protected and addressed in this legally enforceable contract. Our attorneys at TNS can help you preserve your marital assets as well as familial harmony by drafting an agreeable and prudent postnuptial agreement for you and your spouse. Please contact TNS Family Law to discuss your optimal course of action.

If you have questions about postnuptial agreements, please contact TNS Family Law at (410) 339-4100 or Our team of attorneys is here to help guide you.

Related Posts: 
Prenuptial Agreements in Maryland: Do I Need One?
Litigation vs. Mediation: Choosing the Ideal Route for Your Family
Can I Have My Marriage Annulled?
Can I Get a Divorce in Maryland Without Going to Court?

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