When most people think about prenuptial agreements, an immediate dread falls over their entire body. They think about the anxiety, issues and sometimes anger that creeps up when one party asked or demands the other sign a prenuptial agreement before the marriage. Simply put, most people are scared for one reason or another to ask their significant other to enter into an agreement of this type.
Prior to a major revolution in the domestic arena divorce spectrum, prenuptials were few and far between. Even back then, they pretty much focused on property ownership, alimony and the preservation of assets after the marriage. Believe me when I tell you there are a plethora of financial items that should be addressed by anyone contemplating marriage if you have any financial success drive. The reality is that people change during the course of a marriage and it’s important to realize even though both parties may evolve or grow, the basic understanding of what was agreed to when the marriage was entered into, is preserved for posterity.
The real exploration of prenuptial agreements is not in the financial arena anymore. Don’t get me wrong, the financial aspects should be addressed in the agreement. However, prospective marital couples read the newspapers and realized that life can be short and it’s important that each party have a clear understanding of what is expected by the other. Finances are just the beginning folks! Prenuptial agreements are now bleeding into every area of a marriage including sex. In fact, sexual expectations are not only being agreed upon in detail but are being demanded as part of the marriage.
The financial aspect of premarital agreements have been tested by the courts over and over again and the contractual aspect of the agreement is sound in principal. It can be enforced. However, some of the other aspects that prospective marital couples are putting in these prenuptial agreements had not been tested in the courts.
Can one spouse demand that the other spouse maintain their weight at a certain level? One New York-based prenuptial “fined” the wife for every pound over 120 pounds. The monies were to be paid out on a monthly basis.
There is no doubt that in-laws can cause stress to a new marriage. One California man insisted that his “to be wife” agree that his mother-in-law would not be allowed to join them on any vacations for more than one night. I’m sure this didn’t go over so well with the mother-in-law!
Infidelity has been an issue in marriages since the beginning of this glorious institution. Many Hollywood actors and actresses agree that if either of the parties are caught cheating then the other will receive a $500,000 “fee”, as a penalty for stepping out of the marriage. Most blue-collar worker may have to lower that fine a little bit!
Some of these marriages actually spell out the ability of a husband or wife to have a “free pass” for sexual adventures during a specific period of time. Still others, go further and specifically state that infidelity will actually be part of the marriage scheme and adultery cannot be used against them in divorce court at a later time. Some of these agreements are extremely specific and define the amount of sexual contact times, orgasms, and kissing that is allowed. To each their own I guess!
A clause that is more common than you may expect, is the drug testing requirement. This usually occurs when there is some past drug issues or problems that could affect the family or the children. It is not unusual to have a clause in the agreement where one party requires the other to perform or have a random drug test completed up to a specific period of time.
Although discussed above, the specific bedroom schedule between couples is an extremely popular topic. These clauses can be detailed when describing the type of sexual activity, the number of times per week, the limited or required amount of time spent cuddling, having foreplay and kissing before the actual sex act. This particular clause appears to be very popular!
Who gets the dog or the other pets? Not amazingly this is a topic that becomes a major dispute when separation and divorce occurs. Especially when you have a pet that has become part of the family. These specific clauses can cause major difficulties prior to the marriage occurring. They can be difficult to talk about. That is one reason why it’s very important to start the prenuptial process many months prior to the wedding day.
Child custody and child-rearing decisions are frequently addressed in these agreements. In Maryland, although one party may agree to certain aspects of the children prior to the marriage and even prior to children being born, it is well-established in the courts that the “best interest” of the child evaluation still exists. In other words, even though one party may give away the ship regarding issues revolving around children, they are not always enforceable at a later time.
Sports watching limitations put on the husband. This can be a hot topic in any marriage. How often do you hear a spouse complaining about the other spouse spending an enormous amount of time watching or participating in a certain sport. It happens a lot. Maybe this is the cure?
Can they be Enforced?
While it is agreed that it would take a skilled lawyer to enforce some of these requirements in a court of law, especially divorce court, it is clear that the party who brings most of the assets to the marriage is in control.
Anyone can use her imagination to try and create crazy requirements in a prenuptial agreement. The question becomes is it enforceable and if so how?
There is no doubt that it is extremely important for anyone who has the desire to protect assets that they have worked for over a long period of time, to take a hard look at entering into a prenuptial agreement.
Maybe even add an extra fun clause in it as well!