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What not to include in your prenup

Your prenuptial agreement is intended to protect you if you get divorced, and it typically focuses on financial protection. For instance, if you have far more assets than your spouse or own your own business, you may want to make sure a divorce doesn't ruin the business or take half of those assets by stating up front that they stay with you if the marriage ends.

However, a prenup is not a way for you to make any stipulations you want. Some are illegal and others will not hold up in court. Below are a few things not to put in the prenup.

  1. Child support. The court determines this during the divorce. Your prenup cannot say you won't pay or determine how much you'll pay in advance.
  2. Child custody. The court makes this decision with the best interests of the child in mind. You cannot make it in advance, either by demanding to have custody of the kids or by saying you'll have no obligation to raise them.
  3. Illegal provisions. If the clause would break the law, that can sometimes get the entire document tossed out.
  4. Spousal support. People do try this, but courts usually do not abide by it and can overrule it, especially if it appears unfair and goes against local laws.
  5. Anything that gives you an incentive to split up. For instance, you cannot write a prenup saying that you get 100 percent of your own assets and your spouse's assets in the divorce. In some cases, a spouse under duress may be tempted to sign such an unfair prenup, encouraging the other spouse to ask for the divorce and gain financially.

Prenups can be quite helpful, but make sure you know exactly how to use them in New Hampshire.

Source: FindLaw, "What Can and Cannot be Included in Prenuptial Agreements," accessed Feb. 23, 2018

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