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5 things you cannot put in a prenup

Prenuptial agreements are useful legal agreements for couples to have in place prior to marriage. Recently, the Michigan House approved legislation that would expand the number of instances that would make a prenup unenforceable. 

At the end of the day, a prenup distinguishes between marital and separate property. It can also protect one spouse against the other's debts, and it can keep any family property within that family. However, there are certain items couples cannot include in this document. Additionally, a prenup will be invalid if one spouse has failed to disclose all assets. To avoid the court throwing out the prenup later in the event of a divorce, do not put the following in a prenup: 

1. Personal details

A prenuptial agreement is a matter of dividing property and assets; you cannot use the document to establish personal rules and boundaries within the relationship. For example, one spouse could not include an amendment that states the couple will spend every Christmas with his parents. 

2. Unfair terms

The terms of the prenup cannot be unfair to one party. Spouses are unable to state that they will not be responsible for paying any alimony or child support, especially if one spouse makes substantially more money than the other.  

3. Illegal terms

The prenup also cannot include anything illegal. One spouse cannot expect the other to engage in any unlawful activities, such as those related to drugs and illegal firearms. Doing this can make the entire document null and void. 

4. Amendments encouraging divorce

Some couples will include a provision in the document offering one spouse an incentive if he or she files for divorce under certain conditions. A judge will most likely toss such a document out.

5. Verbal transactions

For a prenuptial agreement to be valid, it must be an actual document authorized by an attorney and notarized. A couple cannot have a verbal agreement in place regarding how they will divide assets because a court will not recognize that as legally binding. 

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