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What terms are considered valid in a premarital agreement?

Just like it is important to consider all the details of a marriage, it is also crucial for some couples intending to wed to consider the possibility of divorce. Planning the end of a marriage is in no way romantic, but today, there are several reasons why New Mexico couples would consider taking the steps to develop a premarital contract. However, in the event of a divorce, divorcing spouses might contend the terms of a premarital agreement during mediation or other divorce process. Because of this, it is important that spouses are aware of what is valid in these agreements.

What terms are considered valid in a premarital agreement? Under New Mexico law, there are seven major topics regarding the content of a premarital contract. First, it allows the rights and obligations of each party to be contracted with regard to the property of either or both spouses no matter when the property was acquired or where it is located.

Next, the contract can control terms regarding property rights. Third, the premarital contract can validly create terms regarding property division upon the separation of the couple, marital dissolution, death or the occurrence or nonoccurrence of a particular event.

Fourth, the prenuptial agreement allows parties to contract the making of a will, trust or other arrangements. In addition, it can also contract the ownership rights in death benefits from a life insurance policy. Sixth, the agreement can also contract what law will govern the construction of the agreement.

Lastly, the terms of the agreement will be upheld if it does not violate public policy or any federal or state laws. Furthermore, the terms may not adversely affect the rights of child support or alimony. Additionally, it cannot validly contract the rights to child custody or visitation, a spouse's choice of abode or a party's freedom to pursue opportunities. Any of these would be considered invalid and would not be upheld in the divorce process.

Premarital contracts can be cited and used in any divorce process, and for those going through the divorce mediation process, it is important to understand how this legal document could help them progress through the process. Moreover, spouses involving such a document in their dissolution should understand how the terms of the agreement are validated. This could help a spouse enforce or challenge the terms of the agreement. In these matters, it is important that a spouse is well informed so that they can take timely and informed action.

Source:, "Article 3A - Uniform Premarital Agreement," accessed Aug. 31, 2015

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