The popularity of prenuptial agreements is on the rise. An increasing number of young couples are opting to sign agreements before they marry, so they can protect themselves and their assets in the unfortunate event of divorce. In certain situations, couples will request that their agreements include lifestyle clauses.
Lifestyle Clauses in Prenuptial Agreements
Lifestyle clauses are special stipulations included in pre- and postnuptial agreements that outline the expected behavior of each spouse during the course of their union. Such stipulations vary in severity, from what kind of school potential children will attend, to how much weight each spouse is allowed to gain. Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, executed a prenuptial agreement before their 2012 wedding that included lifestyle clauses. The “love contract” reportedly required Zuckerberg to spend an undisclosed amount of quality time with Chan per week. The mandated alone time would allow the busy couple to reconnect and keep their relationship strong.
Lifestyle clauses in prenups can also outline shared financial goals, family structure once children are born, and how to deal with issues of infidelity. Cheating stipulations are one of the most common add-ons to prenuptial agreements that contain lifestyle clauses.
Infidelity and Prenuptial Agreements
The notion that a spouse would have an adulterous relationship during the course of a marriage is less than desirable, but the possibility is very real. Prenuptial agreements had a negative stigma attached to them, but as America’s stance on divorce has changed, so has the attitude towards prenups.
Prenuptial agreements with infidelity clauses help foster a sense of security in relationships, and can lead to stronger, more fulfilling marriages. Cheating stipulations allow couples to have security in their marriage, as well as their potential divorce. These clauses allow couples to define what kind of behaviors and actions are acceptable or unacceptable, while giving them the opportunity to create their own consequences for marital indiscretions.
The Legality of Lifestyle Clauses
New York state does not require a plaintiff to list a reason for divorce, such as adultery, at the start of an action. Prior to 2010, a cheating spouse might have been required to pay their ex a larger sum of maintenance if they were found to have committed adultery. While this is no longer the case, lifestyle clauses will typically not hold up in a court of law. A judge has no legal responsibility to enforce unusual lifestyle clauses, and will often deem them to be invalid during a divorce.
The ramifications of infidelity will be different in each situation, but they typically include financial consequences. For instance, a pre- or postnup can state that if Party A cheats on Party B, then Party B will receive $5,000.00 for every year the couple were married. So, if a couple were married for 10 years before Party A had an adulterous relationship, then Party B would receive $50,000.00. Monetary consequences are typically separate from other forms of spousal support, and may not be included in divorce settlements.
Divorce is a private and personal matter, and high-profile parties will often try to keep the details of their legal actions under wraps. Instead of having their dirty laundry aired in open court, a cheating spouse will often abide by an infidelity clause so the details of their relationship and divorce are not made public.
Hollywood’s Obsession with Cheating Stipulations
Infidelity clauses are sweeping Hollywood, with many celebrity and high profile couples opting to include them in their prenuptial agreements. It is reported that Jessica Biel will receive $500,000.00 if Justin Timberlake has an affair during their marriage. The actress apparently had an infidelity clause added to their prenup because of Timberlake’s infidelity during their courtship. Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen agreed that she would receive an additional $4 million during divorce if she was able to prove that he had an adulterous relationship.
In addition to infidelity clauses, celebrities are opting to include other lifestyle stipulations in their agreements. To help ensure a successful marriage, Nicole Kidman and her husband, Keith Urban, signed a prenup that addressed his substance abuse issues. If Urban is found to be using illegal drugs again, Kidman will be awarded $640,000.00 for every year the couple were married. He, on the other hand, would not be entitled to a portion of marital assets.
Hope for the Best, Plan for the Worst
Divorce professionals disagree as to whether young couples should request prenuptial agreements before their first marriage, but it is important to protect potential future wealth. New York state considers potential earnings stemming from advanced degrees or professional licenses to be marital property, which means they are subject to equitable distribution in divorce. Without a prenuptial agreement, parties run the risk of losing a substantial percentage of their income during divorce.
For more information on prenuptial agreements, especially those including lifestyle and infidelity clauses, contact Brian D. Perskin & Associates, P.C. With over 40 years of combined experience, Brian and his legal team have the knowledge and experience required to create unique and ironclad prenuptial agreements. Call 718-875-7548 to schedule your free consultation today.