Not every couple that chooses to get married will elect to draft and execute a prenuptial agreement before formalizing the relationship between the partners in marriage. Those that do, though, create contracts that can dictate how certain financial and property-based decisions will be handled in the event that the marriages end in divorce. Because of this, individuals who entered into prenuptial agreements with their spouses may not be able to change the decisions that they made in the past regarding certain divorce-related topics.
Prenuptial agreements cannot provide couples with complete agreements on how all marital matters will be settled if divorce happens. For example, prenuptial agreements cannot establish how the custody of children will be managed as all such matters must take into account the needs and best interests of the children. Prenuptial agreements are made before marriages happen and therefore a child may not even be born when decisions about their hypothetical custody are considered in the creation of a prenuptial agreement.
However, prenuptial agreements can stipulate if property will be classified as marital or separate and may assign to partners certain liabilities that come into existence prior to and during their unions. Prenuptial agreements can provide guidance on how alimony will be determined and may preclude individuals from seeking more support than they agreed to prior to entering into their marriages.
Readers should know, though, that not all prenuptial agreements are valid and terms in prenups may be deemed unenforceable if they were created under duress, false pretenses, or fraud. To fully understand how one’s prenuptial agreement may influence the outcome of their divorce, a person should consult with a family law attorney for case-specific guidance and support.