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What cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement?

Prenuptial agreements are finally shaking off a long history of poor public opinion, and with good reason. Many couples who marry now recognize that a well-crafted prenuptial agreement can alleviate many of the tensions that tear down a marriage, and ultimately make the relationship stronger and more likely to succeed. It is important, however, to understand that a prenuptial agreement cannot be used for just any purpose. If you are considering creating a such an agreement, it is wise to familiarize yourself with what it cannot legally cover.

Prenuptial agreements cannot supersede the law, in general. This means that an agreement that seeks to enforce something illegal will not be honored, and any explicitly illegal terms in the agreement may invalidate the entire contract. They also are not to be used to enforce areas where the law has no bearing. A contract that seeks to enforce personal matters like duties within a marriage will not be honored.

There are also several legal areas that cannot be negotiated with a prenuptial agreement. For instance, child support and child custody cannot be predetermined in the contract. Courts are very intentional in retaining the right to make determinations about what is best for a child in the event of divorce. Similarly, it is not permissible to preemptively give up alimony, or to offer a financial motivation to get divorced after a certain period of time or after certain requirements are met. Prenuptial agreements that feature inadmissible portions will either be modified to an acceptable form or thrown out altogether.

If you are considering creating a prenuptial agreement, it is important to make sure that you are creating the strongest document for your relationship's needs. With the guidance of an experienced attorney, you can build a beautiful agreement that may serve to strengthen your marriage for years to come.

Source: FindLaw, "What Can and Cannot be Included in Prenuptial Agreements," accessed Jan. 26, 2017

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