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How women can use a prenup to protect assets before marriage

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You may think of prenuptial agreements as contracts drawn up by wealthy men marrying younger women in order to protect the man's wealth, but these days it's women who are seeking prenups. As women are increasingly tying the knot later in life they often find themselves with substantial personal assets when they do marry. It's only natural to want to protect the financial security you bring to a marriage, and the best way to do this is with a prenuptial agreement.

What prenuptial agreements can cover

The main things you will likely want to address in your prenup are arrangements for spousal maintenance and property division. In addition, you can protect assets you may acquire in the future in this legal document.

  • Property. You may want to hang onto that family cabin your grandfather left you in his will. Or perhaps you have your own home before you get married, but buy a new place with your spouse after the marriage. How your property is divided depends in large part on whether you had a prenup and exactly how it was written.
  • Spousal support. If you earn significantly more than your partner-to-be, they may expect to receive support payments from you if you ever divorce. This is fair in many cases, but not in all of them. Many factors affect whether or not you would pay spousal support including current and potential earnings of both parties, the health of your partner, whether or not your partner forgoes a career in order to stay home and raise your children, and others.
  • Cash on hand. It's difficult to think you might need to protect a savings account or investment portfolio when you're first getting married. But these days it is unusual to not have a prenup if you have acquired wealth and property. In some cases, one party has been much better at managing money than the other. It's okay to want to protect the financial security you have worked so hard for.

Maryland laws pertaining to prenuptial agreements

In the state of Maryland, prenups are covered under contract law. The only specific law regarding prenups is that you can't contract to divorce. Speak with an experienced family attorney to help you understand how to protect your assets and your future financial security -- before you tie the knot.

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