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What provisions may not be enforced in a premarital agreement?

Detroit residents make agreements with one another on a regular basis. For the most part, the legal system respects an individual's ability to freely contract with others. This is not always the case, however, as courts may decide not to enforce all contracts that are entered between Detroit residents.

For example, challenges may be mounted to the enforceability of a prenuptial agreement. Last week, this blog discussed how individuals can enter into prenuptial agreements with one another to agree on issues of property division or other issues in advance of a marriage. While the agreement can protect individuals' assets or protect them from their spouses' debts, among other things, there are certain provisions that typically cannot be included in prenuptial agreements.

One common provision that will not be enforced in many states is one that addresses child support or child custody issues. For instance, a party generally cannot eliminate his or her obligation to pay child support in the event of a divorce, because the court determines those issues based on the child's needs and interests.

Likewise, parties typically cannot eliminate obligations for alimony toward the other individual. There are some states that allow waivers of alimony, however, and therefore it is important to understand how the agreement will or will not be enforced in a particular state.

Other types of provisions may also be unenforceable, like those that direct a party's personal matters. For example, provisions about which party is to perform certain chores or what relationship can be maintained with other people may not be enforced by the court.

Ultimately, the above issues are some general guidelines about what can or cannot be included in premarital agreements. Each prenuptial agreement will be examined on its own terms to determine what is or is not enforceable.

Source: Findlaw, "What can and cannot be included in prenuptial agreements," accessed on Jan. 9, 2016

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