What Can and Can’t Be Part of a Prenuptial Agreement?
Over the past few decades, divorce lawyers in Severn have increasingly been asked to arrange prenuptial agreements before a couple legally weds. A prenuptial agreement is a contract drawn up by a family law attorney that agrees to divide property and assets in a specific way if spouses divorce. A prenuptial agreement generally lists each person’s property and debts and specifies his or her property rights after the marriage. Continue reading to find out why family property, individual debts can be included, while child custody and personal matters must be left out.
Family property, including future inheritances, can be included in a prenuptial arrangement. For example, some couples have individual children from previous marriages to whom they prefer to leave their property.
A prenuptial agreement can mandate that each spouse is protected from the other’s debts in case of divorce. For example, if one spouse runs up excessive credit card debt, the other will not be jointly responsible after the couple splits. As your divorce lawyer will warn, failing to include such a provision means you may be liable for any debts your spouse incurs, even if you decide to divorce.
No matter how good your family law attorney is, he or she is prohibited from including child custody terms in any potential prenup. The court has the final say in determining issues of child support and child custody. If a couple divorces, a judge weighs several factors to determine the child’s best interest. As the court reasons, unfit parents could otherwise unfairly bind their children to their choices, even if the child would be better served with a different guardian.
Divorce attorneys are sometimes asked if a prenuptial agreement can divide chores, specify where to spend holidays, or mandate that one spouse takes the others name. Prenuptial agreements are designed to address purely financial issues. When judges see private matters in contracts, they tend to view such provisions as frivolous—and non-binding.