Prenuptial agreements can do a lot. They can protect a business, for instance, by showing that the spouse has no claim to the company or its earnings. They can protect assets that were brought into the marriage or future earnings. They can help sort out commingled assets that are otherwise hard to divide because it’s tough to prove who owned what.

Some legal experts have even said “you can basically do anything you want” to separate your assets and spell out what will happen during the divorce. There won’t be any surprises. The process may even go a lot faster; you don’t have to spend a month deciding who owns the house if the prenup clearly states that it’s yours alone.

However, there are three key things you cannot include in a prenup. These are:

  • Child custody
  • Visitation rights
  • Child support

In other words, prenups are for assets. Your kids are your family, not something you own. As such, they also have rights. Your spouse has parental rights. The prenup can’t change that.

For instance, you can’t stipulate that you won’t pay anything in child support, as that would be unfair to the kids, who would then grow up with less financial support than they need. You can’t stipulate that you get sole legal and physical custody, as that would be unfair to your spouse, who deserves to be involved with the children.

So, prenups are powerful and they can be very useful. Just make sure you know what they can and cannot do and how to create one that will be upheld by the court.

Source: Bankrate, “Engaged? This is why you need to sign a prenuptial agreement,” Robert DiGiacomo, accessed Dec. 29, 2017