Marital documents exist to help couples prevent heated debates in the future. A prenuptial agreement can be used to clarify ownership of the property, assets and debts that each party is bringing into the marriage. Conversely, some couples decide to continue this activity over the course of the marriage by using a post-nuptial agreement. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for couples to have unrealistic expectations about the reach of these documents.
In any divorce, property division can be a challenging subject. Couples must carefully negotiate the division of real property, physical assets, digital assets and debt. With a prenuptial agreement in place, much of the guesswork can be avoided. Unfortunately, couples often make mistakes when drafting this document. These errors can include:
- Including provisions for future child support or child custody: In a divorce, the court has the final say in determining support based on a complex calculation including income, childcare costs, educational expenses, medical expenses and custody. The court will retain the power to ultimately decide what is in the child’s best interest.
- Including provisions encouraging divorce: While this might seem counterintuitive, one party might attempt to include incentives – financial or otherwise – for divorce.
- Including provisions centering on personal matters: These are largely known as “lifestyle provisions” and will generally be rejected by the court. These provisions can include factors such as weight loss or weight gain, eating habits, workout routines, intimacy schedule, who is responsible for what household chores, or where to spend vacations.
Avoiding these errors can make the divorce process run smoothly and efficiently. The divorcing couple will likely be concerned with negotiating future finances such as child support and spousal support and parenting matters including custody, visitation and exchange calendar. When developing a comprehensive prenuptial contract or revising a post-nuptial agreement, it is wise to seek the guidance of an experienced family law attorney.