prenuptial agreement

What Can and Cannot Be Included in a Prenuptial Agreement?

Prenuptial agreements are often a controversial subject, but they don’t have to be. When done properly, they protect both parties and limit complications if divorce were to occur. They aren’t an indication that one party doesn’t believe in the future of the marriage; they are a failsafe in case the unlikely were to occur.

Knowing that, it is important to be familiar with what can and cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement before you get too far into planning. To learn more and for more personalized advice regarding your prenuptial agreement, call Kirk Drennan Law at 205-803-3500to set up a consultation.

Spousal Support
Spousal support can and should be discussed in your prenuptial agreement. This is important when there is a significant earning disparity. Were the marriage to end, the lower-earning partner would still need some financial support to maintain a standard of living. Discussing this amount ahead of time ensures that everyone is on the same page.

The document may outline how much spousal support is to be paid, how often, and whether a lump sum is available in lieu of monthly payments. Some people choose to make the alimony amount and timeframe dependent on the length of the marriage.

Asset Division
Some people come into marriage with assets they need to keep separate. This includes inheritances, businesses, and real estate. However, if those assets are used to benefit both partners, they are often considered marital property during the divorce. By discussing asset division at this stage, you can determine how you want them to be split up instead of leaving it to the courts.

Debt Division
Almost all divorcing couples have at least some debt to split up, and no one wants to get left with more than their fair share. Many prenuptial agreements include details about who will take which debts or how larger accounts will be split up. If one partner has a significant amount of debt and the other does not, a prenuptial agreement is one way to help the debt-free partner feel safer about entering a marriage.

A Sunset Clause
As noted earlier, a prenuptial agreement is not an indication that your marriage will fail. Because of this, some couples write sunset clauses into their prenuptial agreements. These clauses make the other parts of the prenuptial agreement null and void if the marriage lasts a specific length of time. This allows both parties to get what they want from the negotiating process while creating a prenuptial agreement.

No: Child Support
People often assume that you can discuss child support in a prenuptial agreement. However, child support is not a right of the parent. It is a right of the child. Because of this, the parents cannot choose to waive child support on behalf of the child. If a divorce does happen, child support will be determined based on the circumstances at the time of the divorce.

No: Child Custody
On a similar note, you cannot decide child custody arrangements in a prenuptial agreement. This is because custody is based on what is best for the child, not what the parents want. Child custody is decided by the parents’ preferences, parents’ abilities, and child’s best interests at the time of divorce. At no point can a couple override the court’s freedom to decide what is best for the child in a custody dispute.

Contact Kirk Drennan Law for Help with Your Prenuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement can get the tough discussions out of the way before the wedding, allowing you to start your married life free and without worry. To learn more about your options and how this type of agreement can benefit you, contact Kirk Drennan Law online or call us at 205-803-3500.

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