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What’s a prenuptial ‘lifestyle’ clause?

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Are you still considering whether or not you want to ask your spouse for a prenuptial agreement? Most prenuptial agreements are focused on what happens if you divorce. That makes the process simpler.

However, some are partially focused on what happens inside the marriage itself. If you’re concerned about preserving the tenor of your current relationship with your intended, a lifestyle clause might do it.

All marriages can be said to be a contract. Each person enters into the relationship with an idea about what his or her role will be, what rules make the foundation of the relationship and what behavior is expected. Essentially, lifestyle clauses help set those expectations in writing.

They’re controversial. Some people see lifestyle clauses as being too controlling, but they can also make it clear what would make your spouse start to think about divorce.

What do lifestyle clauses include? Fidelity clauses are common, but there’s really no limit. Some of those used by the rich and famous include things like what religion the children will be raised in, how much a partner is allowed to weigh and how often the in-laws can visit.

However, you need to approach a lifestyle clause with some caution. They are unevenly enforced, and there’s no foolproof way to know in advance which way a court will rule (unless you live in a state like California, which won’t enforce any).

In general, if you hope to enforce a prenuptial agreement that includes lifestyle clauses, you can expect the court to examine the following things before enforcing them.

  • Is it verifiable? For example, a fidelity clause won’t do any good if you can’t get absolute proof the infidelity is happening.
  • Is it reasonable? A clause that’s overly-rigid or inflexible is less likely to be enforced.
  • Is it legal? If a clause goes against the law, it could negate the entire prenuptial.

Before you decide on exactly what to ask for in a prenuptial agreement, talk to both your intended and your attorney. There’s no substitute for good communication with both.

Source: HuffPost, “Should You Add a “Lifestyle Clause” To Your Prenup? (Or Are They Just For Celebrities?),” Monica Mizzi, accessed Feb. 21, 2018

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