Creating a prenuptial agreement (prenup) takes a lot of time and compromise between you and your partner. It can be a difficult process to go through, and you may not know where to start. There is so much that can happen during a marriage, and mapping that out is not an easy task. Your future is so fuzzy and unexpected, how are you supposed to plan for that?

It may be helpful to start by looking at the things you can’t include in your prenup. By working backwards, you can know what areas don’t require a second thought and what areas need more attention. So, what can’t you include in a prenup?

1.      Verbal agreements

For the law to recognize a prenup, it must be a signed and notarized legal document. Anything that was agreed upon verbally between you and your partner can’t be upheld in a court of law during a divorce. If you and your partner want your agreement to be legally upheld, you must include it in your prenup.

2.      Illegal terms

As a legal document, your prenup should never include something illegal. This can be anything from terms to requirements. For example, your prenup may not include a requirement that enforces you or your partner to commit an illegal action. Because of the nature of the requirement, the law will not support that prenup.

3.      Unfair terms

Unfair terms are requirements that are one-sided or lean towards one partner. Unfair terms make the prenup unbalanced, leaving one partner shorthanded. If the term affects them financially, that partner may not be able to support themselves after the divorce. The court looks at unfair terms as deceitful and exploitative and, therefore, will not honor prenups with these terms.

4.      Custody, visitation and child support

There are many factors that go into custody, visitation and child support. Because of this, it’s difficult for the court to abide by a document that was created before the child was born. Predicting the future is impossible for anyone and making decisions for future children can only lead to complications. Therefore, the court urges partners to negotiate these decisions as they occur.

5.      Non-financial requirements

Non-financial requirements are stipulations that include physical appearance or personal circumstances. This could be anything from weight gain to hair color to frequency of sexual relation. The court strongly advises couples to determine these preferences outside of their prenup, as they will not honor these terms in the prenup.

Defining the terms that best fit you and your partner can be difficult. It’s hard to know what you’ll need to put in your prenup that will benefit both parties in the future. By learning what you can’t put in your prenup, you can give yourself guidelines that will help you narrow your focus.