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Prenuptial agreements may not determine child custody

A well-crafted prenuptial agreement can not only provide a streamlined divorce without needless complications, it can even strengthen your marriage and keep it strong by protecting both spouses from difficult financial pressures that often sink the union. However, even an otherwise strong prenuptial agreement is vulnerable to challenges if it includes invalid provisions. Some of the most commonly included invalid provisions that may threaten an agreement address child custody and child support.

When parents divorce, the court hearing the matter prefers for the parents to present a parenting plan they both approve to the court, but it only gives them so much flexibility to determine the arrangement. The chief concern of the court is the best interests of the child, and it may amend or outright reject a parenting and custody agreement that places parent's preference over those interests.

Child support obligations are even less flexible for parents who face divorce. This support is the legal right of the child, and a court must review the assets of each parent and the needs of the child to determine what child support obligations either party may hold. While a parent who experiences a significant change in financial circumstances can petition the court to modify a support order to something more tenable, parents do not have much ability to influence the decision of the court in this area. Including such a provision in a prenuptial agreement will almost certainly result in the court throwing out the provision or the entire agreement.

Be sure that you have a sound understanding of the boundaries to prenuptial agreements in order to create a document that represents you and your future spouse's priorities while offering strong protections to both parties rights and privileges.

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

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