CHILD SUPPORT AND CUSTODY LIMITATIONS IN PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS
Prenuptial agreements provide many essential protections to couples who use them, allowing both spouses to define clear terms around many financial matters and marital expectations. However, some issues are specifically excluded from prenuptial agreements by the law, and including them may weaken the entire agreement in the eyes of the court. Two of the most commonly problematic issues in prenuptial agreements are child custody and child support, which the law does not allow couples to self-determine without the direction or approval of a court.
When a couple must determine a child custody agreement, courts prefer for parents to work together to create a plan that fairly treats both parents, but most importantly focuses on the best interests of the child. To this end, the law does not allow couples to determine child custody in a prenuptial agreement, to protect the future rights of both the parents and the child from unfair influence.
In contrast, courts determine child support obligations based on the needs of the child and the resources of the parents, not the preferences of the parents. When considering child support terms, courts carefully examine many sides of each parent’s financial and personal state when the couple chooses to divorce, because the support is the right of the child, not a privilege of either parent to support or not the child. Any attempt to influence child support terms by parents is not regarded by courts, unless a parent faces financial hardship and needs a more bearable child support obligation.
As you approach marriage, it is important to protect yourself and your spouse with careful planning and nuanced understanding of these issues. Be sure to use all of your available resources to keep your family’s rights and priorities protected for years to come.
Source: FindLaw, “What Can and Cannot be Included in Prenuptial Agreements,” accessed Feb. 28, 2018