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Can you include anything in a prenuptial agreement?

Many people may incorrectly assume that a prenuptial agreement can contain language that outlines who any issue or matter is dealt with in a marriage or divorce. However, not every issue is on the table when a couple is putting together their prenuptial agreement. Along the same lines, not every topic that is included in a prenuptial agreement may hold up under review. It is possible to successfully challenge a prenuptial agreement (or just parts of it) on a variety of legal grounds or arguments.

But let's keep the topic on the things that you can or can't include in your prenuptial agreement. What is allowed in a prenup and what is forbidden?

What is allowed:

  • Identifying separate and marital property
  • The debt(s) of the spouses, and who is responsible for which debt(s)
  • Protecting your estate plan, outlining how property division will work in case of a divorce, and identifying family businesses that will stay with the family
  • Providing for children from past relationships
  • Outlining what responsibilities each spouse has in a marriage

What is forbidden:

  • While this should be obvious, you can't include anything that would be illegal in the prenuptial agreement
  • Child support and child custody is off the table and can't be included in a prenup
  • You can't include language, provisions, or anything else that would encourage a divorce down the line
  • You can't include any rules or provisions that deal with personal matters (i.e. who decides where you vacation, or who decides how the child is raised).

Source: FindLaw, "What Can and Cannot be Included in Prenuptial Agreements," Accessed May 5, 2015

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