Marriage is one of the biggest decisions two people will make together. A prenuptial agreement can help protect each spouse by having a properly drafted agreement prior to marriage.
This agreement between spouses made in contemplation of the marriage serves to protect the individual assets and many other rights during the marriage and in the event of marital discord or divorce. As long as the agreements are fair and just, the prenuptial agreements are enforceable. To meet these criteria, both parties must fully disclose their income and assets before the execution of the prenuptial agreement.
Weary of the trappings of a contentious divorce, the majority of couples desire to resolve any disputes of post-marriage by pursuing a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage. Since child support and child custody may be a vastly difficult issue within a divorce, there’s always the temptation to enter a prenuptial agreement. New York and New Jersey do not permit prenuptial agreements to control issues regarding future children within the marriage.
The majority of prenuptial agreements address how much alimony needs to be paid and whether or not it should be paid. There is also division of debts and property, and the imposing of confidentiality after a divorce between spouses. These agreements are typically entered into when a partner has more wealth, expecting a potential inheritance, or when one or both in the partnership were divorced previously.
Children’s Best Interests
Agreements of a prenuptial nature do not apply to determine child custody, child support payments within a relationship for future children, and visitation rights. Issues such as these are determined by a court judge after review of testimony and evidence. That is when the judge bases a decision on the children’s best interests.
The court may consider the precise facts of the court case and children’s needs while the divorce may be pending. Any contractual terms previously decided have no relevance because the couple did not forecast parental income and family circumstances before the marriage.
In many circumstances, general contract law may govern the application and interpretation of the prenuptial agreement. If the issues of child support and child custody are primary as terms within the contract, the court of law may invalidate the whole prenuptial agreement.
If A Spouse Has Children
A couple has permission to entail terms which address property rights and inheritance of children in a prenuptial agreement from a previous relationship. If a man has children, for example, from a past marriage, and expects a huge inheritance from a member of the family, a prenuptial agreement may acknowledge property rights for the children.
Establishing child custody can be seriously difficult during a divorce. It may be true that each parent can feel entitled to some type of authority over and contact of a child. However, decisions of custody are made with what is best for the child in mind.
In cases where a child is old enough to understand the nature of these proceedings, preference and participation can be a consideration by the court of law. An understanding of the impacts of custody rights regarding state law of a pre-teenager or a teenager can help you prepare better for the process of custody.