Prenuptial Agreements and Children

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What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement, commonly referred to as a "prenup," is a contract between two persons who are in the process of being married, but who are not married yet. The prenuptial agreement is typically used to determine how property, assets and income should be divided if the marriage dissolves. However, prenups are also used to help the couple determine the best course for their children’s futures.

The following are common situations where people consider prenuptial agreements.

1. I Have Children from a Prior Relationship

If you are planning a second marriage and have children from a previous relationship, creating a prenuptial agreement can ensure that your children inherit all or part of your assets. Many states, such as Alabama, have laws that forbid a person from ignoring their spouse in a will. This means your spouse may get assets meant for your children. But, such laws can be bypassed through prenuptial agreements.

2. This Is My First Marriage and I Hope to Have Children

Prenuptial agreements are a good idea even for first marriages. These agreements can protect the assets of both spouses in the event of the marriage failing. Furthermore, If you plan on having children, your prenuptial agreement can contain clauses for:

Prenuptial agreements also can contain provisions on such personal child-raising issues as what religion the child will be brought up as.

3. A Former Spouse Is Getting Married

It is not unusual for ex-spouses to feel uncomfortable when their former spouse marries another person. The important thing is to ensure that the children will remain where their interests are best served. As such, prenuptial agreements cannot be used to modify:

Any change in those items must be brought up in the court where the support or custody decision was made.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Draft a Prenuptial Agreement?

Drafting a prenuptial agreement can be very difficult. An experienced family lawyer can help you decide what provisions you should include in your prenuptial agreement. A family attorney can also help you understand your rights and protect your interests. 

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Last Modified: 04-03-2014 12:00 PM PDT

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