Maryland crab cakes anyone? Ahh, Maryland. The land of delicious seafood and rock solid prenups. Okay, we made up that second part. But, in all seriousness, let’s talk about all things prenups in Maryland, whether or not you need one, what a prenup attorney does, how to find one, and much, much more. Grab your crabbing boots and let’s get into it!
What does a prenup attorney do?
A prenup attorney helps you create your prenup, answers any questions you may have, provides legal advice, negotiates on your behalf, and keeps your marriage in mind throughout the entire process.
Drafting your agreement
Of course, a prenup attorney will draft your agreement. They will ask you questions and gather financial information from you in order to create a prenup that matches your unique situation. You can make requests for what goes into the prenup and they can make suggestions. At the end of the day, they are there to create a prenup that you feel comfortable with.
Answer legal questions
If you have prenup questions, they have answers. A prenup lawyer can answer all of your burning legal questions. For example, “should I waive alimony?” or “how is alimony calculated in Maryland without a prenup?” These are the things a prenup lawyer can help you with.
Provide legal advice
If you’re wondering what you should do for your specific situation, your prenup lawyer can help you. They can provide you with best practices, what they’ve seen in their experience, and what outcome may be best for your particular situation. For example, they can advise you whether or not you should include certain clauses in your prenup.
Negotiates on your behalf
A prenup lawyer will negotiate the terms of the prenup agreement on your behalf with your partner’s attorney. Some people like this aspect because it takes the pressure off of the couple, if they find negotiating different terms to be uncomfortable. The lawyer can negotiate which terms go into the agreement and to what extent.
Promotes your marriage
Many people think hiring a prenup attorney means hiring a divorce planner. That’s simply not true! A great prenup attorney will support you through the prenup process with the goal of supporting a long-lasting marriage. Yes, that’s right, prenups can actually foster strong marriages thanks to its expectation setting and communication building aspects.
Do I need a prenup attorney for a valid and enforceable prenup in Maryland?
No. Technically, there is nothing under Maryland law that states you must have a lawyer in order to have a valid and enforceable prenup in Maryland. However, it is often recommended to have a lawyer as they can help make sure your prenup is customized to your needs and is state compliant.
We spoke with experienced Maryland Prenup attorney, Cary Jacobson at Jacobson Family Law who told us, “While it is not legally mandatory to have a lawyer draft your prenuptial agreement in Maryland, having an experienced attorney can significantly increase the chances of your prenup being upheld in court. This is because Maryland courts will carefully scrutinize prenuptial agreements to ensure they are fair and equitable to both parties. An attorney can help you draft a prenup that meets Maryland’s legal requirements and protect your interests in the event of a divorce.”
Another thing to keep in mind is that you and your partner may not share a prenup lawyer. You each must have your own. Why? Because a prenup lawyer cannot advocate for two people with opposing interests at the same time. That would be like the lawyer playing ping pong against themselves–it’s a conflict of interest.
What are the benefits of hiring a prenup attorney?
You may be wondering why you should hire a prenup attorney if it isn’t technically required by law. Well, for many reasons from adding a layer of protection to your prenup to peace of mind. Keep reading to hear all of the ways you might benefit from hiring a prenup attorney.
Adding a layer of protection to your prenup
With a lawyer, you can ensure your prenup includes all the requisite factors of a valid and enforceable Maryland prenup. For example, in Maryland, “frank, full, and truthful” financial disclosure is required in the prenup. That means sharing financial information completely, without hiding anything. A lawyer can ensure you are following this rule to avoid having your prenup thrown out down the road.
Having your legal questions answered
If you aren’t sure how the prenup process works or what to put into your prenup, your lawyer can help answer these questions. For example, you may wonder what happens if you do get a divorce, what happens? Your lawyer can make sure to fill in any gaps of knowledge you may have about prenups, divorce, or other relevant areas of law.
Understanding the implications of what you are signing
Having a lawyer by your side during the prenup process can help ensure that you know what you are signing. They can explain the dense legal language that is typically included in a prenup. For example, most prenups include a severability clause. Do you know what that is? Probably not, but don’t worry, your lawyer can explain it to you!
Getting peace of mind
At the end of the day, having a prenup lawyer answer your burning questions and give you legal advice can provide a level of peace of mind that is invaluable. They are like your trusty tour guide in a foreign country–they are there to guide you and help you with all of your “travel” needs.
How do I find a Maryland prenup attorney?
Now, where do you go about finding one of these so-called “prenup attorneys”? Well, the best place to find a good prenup attorney is through word of mouth. Start by asking around your network–friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc. This is a great place to start because they have pre-vetted the attorney for you. If you can trust this person and their review of the prenup attorney, you’re probably in pretty good shape!
The next best step is to check out your local bar association’s page. You can find the Maryland Bar Association website here. Most bar association websites offer a place for people to find attorneys in their area, for the specialty they are seeking. You can use this lawyer referral page to call your local agent to see if they have a prenup lawyer near you.
Then, there’s always trusty ol’ Google search. You can use terms and phrases like “Maryland prenup lawyer near me” or “Maryland prenup attorney” or any other combination of the like. Just make sure you vet them out by reading online reviews and checking out their website to make sure they’re legitimate. You might want to do this with any way that you find an attorney.
Seasoned Maryland Prenup Attorney Cary Jacobson explained (in her own words) the best way to find a good prenup lawyer:
“When looking for a prenup lawyer in Maryland, it is important to choose someone who has experience with working with prenuptial agreements. You should also consider the following factors:
- Experience: How many years of experience does the attorney have drafting prenuptial agreements?
- Track record: Has the attorney successfully represented clients in prenup litigation?
- Fees: What are the attorney’s fees for drafting a prenuptial agreement?
- Communication style: Do you feel comfortable communicating with the attorney?
Once you have narrowed down your options, schedule consultations with a few different attorneys to get a sense of their experience, expertise, and personality. Choose the attorney who you feel most confident in and who you believe will best represent your interests.”
How much does a Maryland prenup attorney cost?
The average cost of a Maryland prenup attorney varies based on several factors, such as the skills of the attorney, their geographic location, and your specific situation. The skills of your attorney will play a role in how much they charge. For example, an attorney fresh out of law school versus a 20-year vet will likely charge vastly different rates. The geographic location of the attorney will also affect the hourly rate. An attorney in a rural area of Maryland versus a major city will have different rates. And finally, the situation you are in will also affect the cost. If you have simple finances and basic prenup requests, your prenup will likely take less time than, say, someone with complex needs. Less time = less hours your attorney can bill you for.
On average, in Maryland, you might expect to pay around $3,720. How we came to that number is that the average Maryland attorney charges $310 per hour. If your prenup takes 12 hours (two hours of consultations, three hours of drafting, four hours of negotiations, three hours of review and finalization), then the total comes out to $3,720 ($310/hr x 12 hours). This is a rough estimate based on someone who has basic needs and finances. It could be much more or much less than this!
Compare the cost of an attorney with a cheaper alternative: HelloPrenup! For just $599 per couple, you can get a fully formed prenuptial agreement, compliant with Maryland’s state laws. Plus, if you are still interested in having the support of an attorney, you can do just that through the HelloPrenup platform. That’s right–HelloPrenup now offers legal services through its platform at discounted, flat rates! Gain exclusive access to experienced Maryland attorneys via the platform, giving you the best of both worlds – an online prenuptial agreement and the assistance of a legal professional! It’s a win-win!
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Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]