Be wary of sunset provisions in prenuptial agreements

When engaged Connecticut couples decide on a prenuptial agreement, they may think it will last as long as their marriage. Besides, prenuptial agreements can’t expire, can they? Believe it or not, they can. Some couples include sunset clauses in their prenups so that they expire on a certain date. Why would someone go through the hassle of creating a prenup only to invalidate it in a few years?

Sometimes couples may have initial fears about getting divorced. They don’t want to have to give up their wealth after only a year or two of marriage. But they may think their marriage will be smooth sailing after 10, 15 or maybe 20 years, so they include a clause in the prenup that states when the document will be invalid. The entire prenup may be void at that time, or just certain parts of it.

This may sound like a good idea in theory, but even marriages lasting 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years are ending in divorce nowadays. Take, for example, comedian Chris Rock. He is currently going through a divorce after 18 years of marriage. He had a prenuptial agreement in place, but it has since expired. Therefore, his wife will likely get a huge share of his estimated $70 million fortune.

The decision to draft a prenuptial agreement is a personal decision. Those who do decide to have one should review it every few years to ensure it is still valid. Financial situations change, and certain provisions included in the prenup may make it possible for a spouse to receive more money in a divorce. Those who are unsure should check with their lawyer for advice. It’s better to be safe than sorry.