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Prenuptial agreements and child custody issues

Prenuptial agreement are an essential part of many marriages, and should certainly be used much more frequently than they are. Considering the number of marriages that do ultimately end in divorce, it is no small wonder than more couples do not choose to protect each other and themselves with a thoughtful and well-planned prenuptial agreement.

However, some couples attempt to use prenuptial agreements in ways that the law does not allow, possibly weakening the legitimate protections the agreement offers. Most commonly, this involves either child custody matters or child support terms.

The law does not allow couples to include child custody or support matters in prenuptial agreements, and for good reason. Child custody is determined based on the needs of the child and the means of each parent to support and care for the child at the time that the divorce occurs. Courts prefer for parents to work together to develop a custody plan, but retain the right to modify or deny a custody plan if the child's best interests are not met.

Similarly, child support is not determined by parents, but by a court. In order to determine fair child support terms, a court must examine the resources of both parents. In many cases, a prenuptial agreement may seek to limit the obligation a parent has to support a child, which a court is never likely to approve.

If you and your future spouse are considering a prenuptial agreement, be sure to understand the fine points of these laws to keep your agreement strong and your marriage even stronger. Professional legal counsel can help you examine these issues closely, to ensure that your agreement truly represents your priorities and protects your most valuable rights.

Source: FindLaw, "What Can and Cannot be Included in Prenuptial Agreements," accessed March 02, 2018

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