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Can a prenuptial agreement decide child custody matters?

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2024 | Divorce

A prenuptial agreement, or a prenup as it’s commonly known, is typically used to outline the distribution of assets and financial responsibilities in the event of a divorce. However, many individuals are not fully aware of the legal boundaries of prenups.

While a prenup can address financial matters, it cannot strictly dictate the terms of child custody and visitation. Even if you include these terms in the prenup, the court will not necessarily enforce them when deciding how you will share parenting time. In other words, they are not legally binding.

The child’s best interests determine custody arrangements

Child custody decisions are based on what’s best for the child. Some of the factors that the court will consider include:

  • The child’s needs
  • Each parent’s ability to care for the child and meet their needs
  • The child’s reasonable preferences
  • Any history of domestic violence or abuse by either parent
  • The mental and physical health of all the parties involved
  • The willingness and ability of the parents to cooperate in raising the child

It’s worth noting that Minnesota family courts have broad discretion when deciding custody cases. As such, any other relevant factors in your situation may come into play and affect the outcome of custody proceedings.

What else can’t you include in a prenup?

Beyond child custody arrangements, other provisions of a prenup that courts generally will not enforce include anything that violates public policy or state laws. For instance, clauses that waive child support obligations, encourage divorce or are oppressive to one spouse may be invalidated.

Familiarizing yourself with how prenups work and seeking qualified legal guidance when drafting these crucial agreements can help protect your interests during a divorce.