What cannot be included in prenuptial agreements?

More people are turning to prenuptial agreements before marriage to keep their assets separate and to prevent disputes in the event of divorce. While prenups can address many financial matters, legal restrictions prevent certain inclusions.

Couples who decide to create a prenup must understand what they cannot incorporate into this legal document.

Alimony or Spousal Support

Prenuptial agreements cannot determine or waive future alimony or spousal support payments. Courts retain the authority to decide these matters based on the circumstances at the time of divorce. Therefore, any attempt to include provisions related to alimony or spousal support in a prenup would lack legal enforceability.

Child custody and child support

Similarly, prenuptial agreements cannot dictate child custody arrangements or child support payments. These matters must consider the best interests of the child and are subject to court review. In addition, matters such as religious upbringing, education, or lifestyle choices for children are not appropriate for inclusion in a prenup.

Illegal provisions

Prenuptial agreements cannot include provisions that are illegal or unconscionable. This means that any terms that violate the law or go against public policy cannot be in a prenup. For example, agreements promoting illegal activities or containing terms that are grossly unfair or oppressive would not be upheld by the court.

Personal matters unrelated to finances

Prenuptial agreements primarily address financial matters related to the marriage. You cannot include personal matters unrelated to finances, such as household chores, division of household responsibilities or agreements about future behavior in a prenup. These issues are better addressed through open communication and mutual understanding between the spouses.

It is important for couples to understand these limitations and work to create a prenuptial agreement that is fair, enforceable and legally sound.