A prenuptial agreement is something every couple should consider as they approach their wedding day. A carefully worded prenup can offer a great deal of relief to spouses who use it correctly, protecting one from the other’s debts or outlining each person’s expectations within the marriage. However, some prenups include terms that the law does not support or does not allow — such as terms surrounding child custody.
Courts do not allow parents to include child custody matters in a prenup for two practical reasons. First, the court is ultimately the deciding party when it comes to child custody disputes. Parents are always encouraged to work together to create an acceptable custody plan that places the needs and interests of the child first. However, courts retain the right to determine what is in the child’s best interests if parents cannot offer a good solution.
Secondly, courts recognize that one party or the other may attempt to use terms of child custody as a negotiating asset to keep a spouse in a harmful marriage or to leverage them into giving up other rights in order to claim custody. By keeping custody out of a prenup, spouses cannot sign away their rights as parents while still in the glow of a happy relationship.
If you have concerns about your own prenup, make sure that you spend the time and resources needed to create a contract that truly represents your priorities and strengthens your marriage. With proper attention and care, a strong prenup is one of the best gifts you can give the person you love as you enter a new chapter of life together.