What Can (and Can't) a Prenup Do? 2

Understanding the Basics

Although many see a prenuptial agreement as a “fix-all” kind of document, the truth is there are some things it just can’t do. A prenup is designed to address the financial aspects of your relationship. This includes property division, assets, expenditures and debts. What a prenup cannot do however, is outline all the personal, day-to-day decisions that all married couples must make.

What can a prenup do?

  • Separate your property so that yours is yours and theirs is theirs in the event of a divorce .
  • Document financial agreements such as putting each other through college or purchasing a house with a trust fund or inheritance.
  • Fund future expenditures such as college for your children or starting up a new business.
  • Stipulate basic financial responsibilities such as filing your taxes and paying bills.
  • Provide future support such as life insurance policies or health insurance for you and your children.
  • Separate your debt so that you are not responsible for specific debts incurred prior to marriage.

What can’t a prenup do?

  • Divide up household chores, such as laundry, dishes and grocery shopping.
  • Dictate relationships with your friends, in-laws or co-workers.
  • Place restrictions on having children or dictate the number you will have.
  • Create benefits that would encourage or entice one party or the other to divorce.
  • In addition to these guidelines, a prenup hasno effect on child support or visitation rights. Some states also don’t allow alimony waivers so check your state’s laws before you begin to draft your agreement.


  • annamarie viola

    I live in PA and plan to get married in Virginia ,my fiance and I have a prenup , is it valid if we have a Virginia marriage license ?

  • Jo

    My question is about a prenup in california. My fiance has 3 children from a previous relationship and usually has custody of them, but currently the mother has custody for a short time (he is planning on getting his children back though) and is seeking help and possible child support. He is in a situation right now where he is unable to make any payments if they ask for any child support. So my question is, once we are married, would they be able to get any of his child support from any of my personal earnings? Would a possible prenup help with this situation?