Portland ME Prenuptial Agreement Attorney
Prenuptial agreements used to be a tool for the wealthy to protect their estates, but today, prenuptial agreements are much more common. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey, 10 percent of Maine women and 11 percent of men in Maine are divorced, and with such high rates of divorce, many engaged couples are choosing to get a prenuptial agreement.
If you are thinking of a prenuptial agreement, it can be helpful to speak with Portland ME prenup agreement attorney Susan M. Schultz. At our law office, we are committed to providing high-quality legal representation to get you the best resolution possible in your family matter. If you would like to schedule an appointment with divorce and prenup attorney Schultz, please give us a call at (207) 210-6555.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement
You may have heard of a prenup before; usually, in television and movies, a prenup is depicted as a legal document that protects a person’s assets during a divorce. This is only partly true. In Maine, a prenuptial agreement is essentially a contract between two people considering marriage.
Maine follows the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, written by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law in 1983, and this act encourages the enforcement of prenuptial agreements. According to this act, prenuptial agreements must:
- Be in writing; no oral prenuptial agreements
- Be executed voluntarily; a prenup is void if either party was under duress or unfair pressure to sign it
- Be executed knowingly; each party must have adequate knowledge of the other party’s assets, financial resources and financial obligations
- Be conscionable; a prenup cannot leave one party destitute or place an unreasonable burden on one party
- Be validly executed by both parties; in other words, the prenup needs to be notarized
Typically, a prenuptial agreement deals with the financial aspects of a marriage, and it includes provisions regarding the finances if the couple should divorce or if one spouse should die. These agreements become effective following the marriage.
Who Should Get a Prenuptial Agreement
Divorce is the last thing most engaged couples want to think about, and so prenups can be easily overlooked. Additionally, although prenups were once for the wealthy, they now provide a range of benefits for individuals across the economic spectrum.
At the same time, individuals with a business, retirement accounts, or other property prior to the marriage may want a prenuptial agreement to protect those assets. If you have children from a previous marriage, a prenup will also help protect those children’s inheritances. Lastly, some couples may wish to avoid future litigation by deciding beforehand how their property will be divided in the event of a divorce.
What a Prenuptial Agreement Covers
Prenuptial agreements in Maine cover a wide range of potential issues and areas for conflict in the event of a divorce or death. Remember, prenuptial agreements do more than protect one spouse with a disproportionately large amount of assets. Prenups determine the full range of financial rights and responsibilities prior to entering into marriage.
These covered issues often include:
- The rights and obligations to any property that either spouse owns
- The spouses’ rights to buy, sell, use, or otherwise manage and control property
- What will happen to property upon separation, divorce, death, or another event
- Whether the other spouse will pay alimony, and if so, how much and for how long
- Whether the spouses must make a will to carry out the terms of the prenup
- What will happen to the death benefits from either spouse’s life insurance
- Which Maine laws will be used to interpret the agreement
- Whether either spouse waives his/her right to homestead allowance, exempt property, and family allowance
It is important to note that Maine law doesn’t allow a prenup to determine either child custody or child support.
Prenuptial Agreements and Estate Planning in Maine
Prenuptial agreements can be especially useful as part of your overall estate plan. Couples can generally list their assets that are considered as “separate property,” which are different from “marital property.” This distinction is important if the couple decides to divorce or if one spouse dies. Without a prenup, dividing the estate following a divorce or death becomes much more complicated. This is especially true if you are in your second marriage or if you have children from a previous marriage.
Call Portland ME Prenuptial Agreement Attorney, Susan M. Schultz, LLC
Prenuptial agreements can be a wise estate planning tool to consider before getting married, and to make sure that all potential marital issues and areas of conflict are covered, it’s helpful to get a leading Portland area prenup and divorce attorney at your side. Whether providing expert counsel and oversight in accordance with Maine’s prenup and marriage laws, or providing you with independent legal advice, Portland attorney Susan Schultz will be there to provide a careful ear, represent your interests, and litigating/negotiate if necessary in Maine family courts.