San Diego Family Law Attorney explains what you cannot do with a prenuptial agreement.
If you’re trying to decide whether or not to make a prenuptial agreement, you’ll need to understand what this type of contract can — and can’t — do for you. Here are some things you cannot do – or should not – do with a prenuptial agreement. . As a general rule, any agreement to do something that is illegal or against state-defined public policy will be considered unenforceable — and may even jeopardize other valid aspects of the premarital agreement.
Here are some things that you cannot do, or should not do in a prenuptial agreement:
Restrict child support, custody, or visitation rights. No state will honor prenuptial agreements limiting or giving up future child support. The same holds true of agreements limiting future custody and visitation rights. This is because state lawmakers consider the welfare of children to be a matter of public policy and do not enforce any private agreements that would impair a child’s right to be supported or to have a relationship with a parent in the future.
Give up the right to alimony, in a few states. A handful of states similarly limit your ability to give up your right to alimony — also called spousal support or separate maintenance — if there is a divorce. Other states permit such waivers, so you will need to know what your state laws say if you are considering this kind of agreement.
“Encourage” divorce. At one time, many courts viewed any prenuptial agreement specifying how things would be divided up in case the couple splits as void and unenforceable because it promoted divorce. The modern approach allows such agreements, but judges in some states still take a hard look at them. If the agreement appears to offer a financial incentive for divorce to one party, it may be set aside.
Make rules about nonfinancial matters. For practical reasons, you should keep personal agreements out of your prenup. Here is a partial list of nonfinancial matters that sometimes find their way into prenups, but are better dealt with separately. Of course, the possible issues are endless and you may well think of many that aren’t mentioned here:
- responsibility for household chores — from laundry to cleaning to car care
- use of last names after you marry
- agreements about having and raising children, such as birth control, having children, children’s names, child care responsibilities, and education
- how you will relate to in-laws or stepchildren, and
- whether you will have any pets and who will be responsible for them.
These kinds of nonmonetary agreements aren’t binding in court, and in fact they could cause a judge to take your entire prenup less seriously. Rather than including personal matters in your prenup, you may find it helpful to simply make a list of your most important concerns and discuss them together. If you want to take it a step further, you can underscore your commitment by writing down your personal agreements in a separate document — perhaps in a letter that each of you writes to the other, clarifying your intentions and wishes.
Here at Sagaria Law, we offer a full range of family law and legal services including divorce, paternity, adoption, child custody and visitation matters, child support, spousal support, alimony, juvenile dependency, domestic violence, division of property, grandparent visitation and custody, etc. We have seven Northern California locations including San Jose, San Francisco, Redwood City, Fremont, Salinas, Roseville and Sacramento. We offer a free thirty minute consultation, either in person at any of our offices, or over the phone. Call our offices today and we can connect you with an attorney immediately or we can schedule your free consultation with one of our family law attorneys : (408) 279-2288 or (800) 941-6730 or visit www.sagarialaw.com.