What is a Sunset clause in a Prenuptial Agreement?

You often hear of the term “sunset clause” when it comes to contracts and prenups.  So what are they?  Simply put, it is a paragraph of legal language that is included in the prenup that lays out when the prenup will no longer be valid.

Why would anyone want that?

Well, you might foresee a date in the future when you feel you would not need a prenup anymore.  Some people have an initial fear that their marriage might end in divorce rather quickly.  So to hedge against that, they ask their fiancée for a prenup.  However, they feel that if they had been married for a sufficiently long period of time (say 25 years), then a prenup is no longer necessary.

One type of common sunset clause provides that the prenuptial agreement between the parties will expire in x number of years.  So once you hit that magical year, it immediately goes away.  Another common way to draft a sunset clause is to phase it out over time.  So for example, some people make allowances for how to divide property and deal with alimony when you hit certain milestones in the marriage – such as 10 years, 15 years, 20 years and 25 years.  So at each of those stages, more and more of the prenup becomes void or more and more of the property becomes joint/marital property until after the last stage, the prenup is entirely phased out.

Including a sunset clause is not for everyone but it is something to consider when speaking with your fiancée about the different items that you would like to be included.  Speak with your lawyer about how to best structure the language.

One Response to What is a Sunset clause in a Prenuptial Agreement?
  1. laone gabalape
    June 13, 2011 | 9:37 pm

    Sounds good,if i get married I would request a prenup aswell,today it seems like marriages/love relationships require something that doesn’t exist and if you don’t make it exist it’s over,so it would be better to not lose all your property when your lose love maintenance .thanks

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