In this blog, we will be discussing prenuptial agreements and what they can and cannot do. Generally speaking, a prenuptial agreement is intended to establish the rights and responsibilities if the marriage were to end in a divorce or dissolution. There are numerous areas where a prenup can address and can lead to saving you a significant amount of time, money, and stress throughout the divorce. However, there are some things a prenup cannot address. Throughout this blog, we will cover these two categories and their issues.
What Can a Prenup Do?
The things a prenup can address are property rights, the rights to alimony, and the rights for people who will be paying their attorney fees. Furthermore, a prenup will address anything concerning equitable distribution.
A lot of people have a prenup created to prevent themselves from arguing over the division of their property. However, asset protection is not the only reason couples get a prenup made. A prenuptial agreement can outline which areas of jurisdiction all family law issues or divorce proceedings must take place. Furthermore, a prenup provides provisions that cater to each spouse’s role, responsibilities, and obligations during their marriage.
Depending on the situation, a prenuptial agreement can state where you and your spouse will live, how long you will be living at that residence, and how the couple will decide to raise their children. There may also be provisions for kids from previous relationships and other aspects.
What is not included in a Prenuptial Agreement?
As mentioned above, a prenuptial agreement can address various aspects of equitable distribution. However, a prenup does not guarantee you protection from everything. Prenuptial agreements cannot violate federal or state law or public policies. If they do, the prenup will become invalid. Furthermore, a prenuptial agreement cannot address the timesharing of kids in the event of a divorce, such as who will have the majority timeshare, what parental responsibilities will be, or child support. The reason for this is very straightforward. When going through a dissolution of marriage, the court has a strong interest in making sure the child’s best interest is maintained.
With that said, it’s hard for the courts to believe that two parties in contemplation of marriage know what the best interests are for the child. That is why the child custody, child support, timesharing is handled at the time of dissolution and cannot be addressed in a prenup.
Another category that cannot be addressed in a prenuptial agreement is temporary support. This means that there will be no alimony paid to one spouse from the other until the divorce is finalized. The reason for this is that the courts still consider the parties to be married, and still have the responsibility to support each other. Once the couple is no longer together, the couple is free to decide amongst themselves what the alimony obligation will be as long as it’s reasonable. Therefore, there will be no distress leading up to the alimony agreement.
During the time of separation, or while the divorce is pending, spousal support cannot be waived. In addition, temporary attorney fees cannot be waived. Therefore, fees that are sought while the divorce is pending can also not be waived in a prenuptial agreement.
Everything in regards to property, any assets you owned before the marriage, assets you acquired during the marriage can be addressed in a prenuptial agreement. Having a prenuptial agreement can streamline the divorce process while saving both parties a lot of grief and trouble. In other words, as long as your prenuptial agreement is reasonable and doesn’t violate any legal or public policies, then your prenuptial agreement will be deemed valid. Contact our helpful divorce attorneys to get you through your troubling time. Our team of professional divorce lawyers can help you through every step of your prenuptial agreement.