Maine Postnuptial Agreement

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Updated August 07, 2022

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Maine postnuptial agreement establishes how a married couple’s property will be distributed if the couple’s marriage ends in divorce or death. Postnuptial agreements are different from prenuptial agreements, often known as “prenups.” Prenuptial agreements are signed before marriage and go into effect as soon as the marriage is official. Postnuptial agreements are signed after a couple is married and, unless otherwise stated, go into effect immediately.

Maine has adopted a series of statutes regarding prenuptial agreements but has not done so for postnuptial agreements. While Maine recognizes marital settlement agreements created in anticipation of a divorce, the status of other kinds of postnuptial agreements is less clear. General principles of contract law will control the agreements, though courts may subject postnuptial agreements to greater scrutiny.

Signing Requirements – No statute or court cases, but it is recommended that agreements be in writing, that both parties sign the agreement, and that the agreement be notarized.

Laws

Marital Property: In divorce proceedings, courts will divide marital property in a way the judge considers fair. Marital property includes all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage, with some exceptions, including property excluded by a valid agreement. Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 19-A, § 953(2)(d)

Settlement Agreements: Maine permits postnuptial agreements between spouses created when planning to get divorced. (Jones v. Jones (1992))

Scrutiny: Marital settlement agreements are interpreted like other contracts but face additional scrutiny because of the heightened public interest in ensuring that the terms of the agreement are consistent with public policy. Thorne v. Leask (2004).