Prior to marriage, can a couple agree to automatic divorce? 13 Answers as of January 27, 2014

Can a couple agree that their marriage will automatically end in divorce after a preset period of time, unless both people agree that the marriage should continue? That is, can two people sign a contract that says that if, in 10 years, both people do not affirmatively agree that the marriage should continue, they will be divorced? Would states allow that contract, as they allow pre-nuptial agreements?

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Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
No. Sorry. There is no such thing.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 1/27/2014
John Russo | John Russo
You can contract for many things, but not what you are asking for, especially in a no fault jurisdiction, basically you want a contract that states the party's could not divorce unless both agreed, that would never fly, besides it makes little to no sense.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 1/27/2014
Attorney at Law
Attorney at Law | Frances An
In California, that is absolutely not allowed. It is against the basic principal of marriage. You are supposed to try, for as long as you can, to make the marriage work. Pre-nuptial agreements that put the wrong conditions on the marriage contract are also not allowed. You have to be careful.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/27/2014
Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
No, a couple can enter into a prenuptial agreement that would outline what would happen if they later divorced but the agreement you describe would not be found valid by the courts.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/27/2014
Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
California requires that a divorce take a minimum of six months from the date that the petition was served upon the other side. You cannot deviate from that arrangement for a standard divorce.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/27/2014
    Diane l. Berger | Diane L. Berger
    I believe all states would find that that type of agreement would be against public policy and thus not enforceable.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 1/27/2014
    The Law Office of James P Peterson
    The Law Office of James P Peterson | James P Peterson
    You would still have to file for a divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 1/27/2014
    Borzilleri Law Office | Christine Borzilleri
    No, a couple can not agree to what you have called an "automatic divorce". All dissolutions of marriage must be done through the Court system.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 1/24/2014
    Law Offices of Julie A. Ringquist | Julie A. Ringquist
    There is no need for such an agreement (which I believe would not be allowed regardless). If either one of you decides the marriage should end before 10 years, that person need only file for divorce. If either of you claims that the marriage is irretrievably broke, there is nothing the other person can do to stop the divorce, no matter the circumstances. At that time, a divorce would be granted according to the laws of the state in which you both reside, unless you have a pre-marital contract which strictly adhered to the laws of the state, in which case the pre-marital agreement would dictate the terms of the divorce (except for child custody and support - which cannot be agreed upon in any pre-marital agreement). See an attorney in your state to find out exactly how to go about getting a binding agreement and what those terms can (and cannot) make legally binding.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/23/2014
    David A. Browde, P.C.
    David A. Browde, P.C. | David Browde
    It would be a useless exercise. With or without the contract either spouse can terminate the marriage at any point after six months.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/23/2014
    Peters Law, PLLC
    Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
    I don't think it would be enforceable. However, given that most states have no-fault divorce, there is nothing to stop you from getting divorced in 10 years.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 1/23/2014
    Barr, Jones & Associates LLP
    Barr, Jones & Associates LLP | Andrew Brasse
    Courts would not accept a contract like that to end the divorce. They may accept it as the grounds for the divorce but they would still need to see a complete division of current property and debts. Unless the parties agree to a division, it will need to head to trial for a judge to decide.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 1/23/2014
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    No. Any premarital agreement which promotes divorce is void as against public policy.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/23/2014
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