Many people have high hopes for their marriages. Some of them write out those hopes in the form of prenuptial agreements.
If you are considering a prenup, one of your primary concerns would probably be making every part of it enforceable. A single invalid section might not call the entire contract into question, but it could cause the types of problems you are specifically attempting to avoid.
What could a prenup do?
One way to approach this is to understand what a prenuptial agreement can do, in general terms. Generally speaking, these contracts are either for providing security for pre-existing obligations or assets.
For example, you might have an alimony or child support obligation from a previous marriage. If that’s the case, you might want to secure assets to fulfill those obligations — especially since lapses could come with serious legal consequences. This is the most popular traditional use for prenups.
The other major use you might have for prenups is protecting yourself and your spouse-to-be from spousal interests in each other’s property. For example, you might have business interests, an expected inheritance or a home you intend to use as the marital residence.
What could a prenup not do?
You may have noticed some significant omissions. There is one major point of contention in divorce that prenuptial agreements typically cannot address: child custody.
Setting up an informal agreement on major decision-making responsibilities, residential arrangements and education might be a nice idea. However, you should realize that the court would probably consider the best interest of the child at the time of the divorce much more heavily than any ideas you had at the time of your marriage.
What should be in a prenup?
In terms of the specific classes you should have in your prenuptial agreement, that is truly up to you. These documents are as unique as the families they serve. With that in mind, please limit the language to legally enforceable terms to avoid as much confusion as possible.