- Shared Hearts, Separate Assets: The New Age of Pre-Nups – read now
Shared Hearts, Separate Assets: The New Age of Pre-Nups
When my team members and I were at home during Covid and the courts were closed we spent a lot of time managing clients and their custody disputes. That phenomenon did not go unnoticed by judges who were happily amazed that they received a minimal number of custody filings. Interest in getting divorced waned until there was more freedom to move about and children returned to a normal school schedule. We were all certain that once some semblance of normalcy returned, the floodgates would open for divorce inquiries and filings.
While this is somewhat the case, in my practice, what I experienced was an explosion of requests for Prenuptial Agreements. Surprisingly, these requests were not limited to second marriages whose couples had ample reason to protect their assets for their children and/or their obligations from a prior divorce. Nor did the majority of the calls come from those who were trying to carve out generational family assets or a business that already had a modicum of success. The vast majority of the calls came from the younger generation, entering into their first (and hopefully only) marriage, many of whom had been in the work force for at least ten years and had started to accumulate some assets that they wanted to protect, such as retirement or a recent home purchase. Protection of family assets and the possibility of an inheritance were also subjects addressed in these initial calls.
Apparently, while these millennials were working remotely during Covid and sharing expenses with their live-in partner with whom they were spending 24/7 of their time, a decision was made to permanently spend their life together. However, there was a second decision made to not share their assets. They were comfortable with the way they were sharing expenses, and had a desire to adopt this arrangement to the way they would start their married life together.
Of course, it is not that simple; but that is where each seeking legal counsel, with an emphasis on “counsel,” is important. Each party needs to gain an understanding of what it actually means in Maryland to enter into marriage with or without a Prenuptial Agreement. For example, the custody and child support related to children born during a marriage cannot be covered by a prenup. There are many concepts associated with asset accumulation in a marriage that require discussion, including the concept of commingling and how it can easily change an asset from a piece of separate property covered by a prenup to one that will ultimately be shared with a spouse unknowingly if a divorce ensues.
It is important to know each person’s attitude towards money and how the couple envisions growing their life together. Are they interested in building joint assets and just protecting or carving out the assets they had already accumulated, or something more substantial that will dictate their financial life going forward? It is impossible to predict the future, and no one gets married thinking divorce is inevitable or even likely, but a prenup is a way to focus on attitudes that will shape your marriage and your future finances.
If you are considering taking a walk down the aisle and want to explore entering into a Prenuptial Agreement email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 410.659.1389 to schedule an initial consultation.
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