How much does a Maryland prenuptial agreement cost? This a common question asked by couples who are planning to get married in Maryland. Let’s explore this question and review some general information about prenuptial agreements and how they can protect you and your spouse’s assets.
How Much Does a Prenuptial Agreement Cost in Maryland?
Prenuptial agreements, also called antenuptial agreements, premarital agreements, or simple “prenups”, are legally binding contracts that a couple executes prior to getting married. A prenuptial agreement is a way for couples to plan out how their property and debts will be distributed if their marriage ends.
It is common for a couple to hire an attorney to draft their prenuptial agreement and some states even require attorneys to represent each party when signing a prenup. This contract is legally binding and needs to include specific information and abide by Maryland state laws to be enforceable. A lawyer will know how to draft an agreement that fair and enforceable.
Many couples want to know how much a prenuptial agreement will cost. While this number can vary, based on ContractsCounsel's marketplace data, the average cost of a prenuptial agreement in Maryland is $748.00.
Do I Need a Prenuptial Agreement in Maryland?
While most people associate prenuptial agreements with divorce, these agreements also include provisions for the death of a spouse and can help a couple plan out how finances will be handled during the marriage. Many people believe that prenups are only for people who are extremely wealthy, but there are many reasons a couple should plan out their financial futures before getting married. Here are some common reasons you may want to consider executing a prenup:
- Children from a prior relationship. If either party has children from a prior relationship, a prenup can dictate which assets the children receive upon the death of their parent. A properly executed prenup paired with a will can override state inheritance laws and ensure that your child is entitled to your non-marital property.
- Providing for a homemaker or caregiver. State divorce laws don’t always distribute property evenly or fairly. Maryland is an equitable distribution state which means the court uses factors like contribution by each party, employability, and educational attainment to determine how property is distributed. If a couple plans on having children and one spouse is going to give up their career to run the household and care for children, a prenup can lay out how that spouse will be provided for in the event of a divorce.
- Business ownership. If either spouse owns a business or expects to inherit a family business, a prenup can protect their business interests. A prenuptial agreement can designate the business interest as “non-marital property” shielding it from any future claims from a spouse during a divorce.
- Retirement benefits. Pensions, retirement accounts, and 401(k)s can be the source of heated arguments in divorce courts. Without a prenup stating otherwise, spouses are often entitled to a portion of each other’s retirement benefits. You can use a prenup to protect your benefits if you divorce.
What's Typically Included in a Maryland Prenuptial Agreement
Prenuptial agreements can be customized based on the needs of the spouses and the different types of assets they possess. It is common to see the following items addressed in a prenup:
- List of each person’s premarital assets
- List of each person’s premarital debts
- The rights and obligations of each spouse regarding all assets and debts no matter when they were acquired or where the assets are located
- Spousal support rights and amounts
- Allocation of property if a spouse dies
- Life insurance policy and beneficiary information
- Terms requiring each party to have a valid will that facilitates the terms of the prenup
- Which state laws will govern the prenup
Are Prenups Enforceable in Maryland?
Unlike many states which have specific laws governing wills or have adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA), Maryland doesn’t have any specific laws for prenups. Instead, the state treats prenups like any other contract and requires these documents to follow state contract laws. To be legally enforceable, a prenup in Maryland must meet these basic contract requirements:
- Be in writing
- Be signed by both spouses
- Entered only after each spouse has the opportunity to speak to a lawyer (speaking to a lawyer isn’t required but time to do so, is)
- Include complete financial disclosures or a waiver of the right to that information
Courts will only ignore a prenup if a valid defense is raised during the divorce which can include fraud relating to the information in the prenup, or signing the agreement under duress, coercion, or undue influence. If the prenup is found to be unconscionable, a judge may also override the contract.
Prenuptial Agreement Drafting in Maryland
Hiring an attorney to draft a prenup is recommended because a lawyer will be familiar with Maryland contract law and know what can and cannot be included and enforced in a Maryland prenuptial agreement.
Before drafting a prenuptial agreement, the lawyer will consult with the couple to learn about their assets, debts, and future plans. The attorney will then draft an agreement that implements these terms.
Prenuptial Agreement Review in Maryland
It is wise, and in some states, required by law, that each spouse be represented by their own attorney when executing a prenup. This means that one spouses attorney will draft the agreement, and the other spouse’s attorney will review it.
The reviewing attorney will read through the agreement to ensure that it is fair, their client fully understands the terms and conditions, and the agreement has their clients best interests in mind.
Maryland Prenuptial Agreement Drafting Cost
When hiring a lawyer to draft their prenuptial agreement, you can expect to incur legal fees because drafting a contract of any kind requires the time and legal expertise of a licensed lawyer.
According to ContractsCounsel's marketplace data, the average prenuptial agreement drafting costs in Maryland are $780.00.
Maryland Prenuptial Agreement Review Cost
Hiring an attorney to review a prenuptial agreement will also come with legal fees. Even though the attorney isn’t drafting the document, they will still take their time reading over the contract and advising their client about the contents.
ContractsCounsel's marketplace data shows the average prenuptial agreement review costs in Maryland are $700.00.
How Do Maryland Lawyers Charge for a Prenuptial Agreement?
Hourly Rates for Prenuptial Agreements
Family law attorneys in Maryland typically charge their clients using an hourly rate fee structure. With this fee agreement, a lawyer will bill a client at a set hourly rate for time spent working on drafting the prenup.
The marketplace data for ContractsCounsel shows the average hourly rate for a family lawyer in Maryland ranges from $200 - $350 per hour.
Flat Fee Rates for Prenuptial Agreements
Flat fee rates are commonly used when a lawyer is hired for a specific task like drafting or reviewing a prenuptial agreement. In a flat fee payment structure, an attorney will charge the client a flat fee price for the entire legal project.
ContractsCounsel's marketplace data shows the average flat fee rate for a prenuptial agreement in Maryland is $748.00.
Get Help with a Maryland Prenuptial Agreement
Do you need help with a prenuptial agreement project? If so, post a project in ContractsCounsel's marketplace to receive flat fee bids from family lawyers who are licensed to practice law in Maryland and can handle your project. All lawyers on the ContractsCounsel's platform are vetted by our team to make sure you are provided with top-tier service.