April 2, 2015

Lifestyle Clauses in Prenuptial Agreements

Divorce Trends, Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois family law attorney, Premarital agreement

Getting a prenuptial agreement can seem like it is not necessary if you and your soon-to-be spouse do not have large numbers of assets or wealth. Prenups, however, are important for everyone—and the growing trend of so-called lifestyle clauses in the agreement are making them even more relevant.

Lifestyle clauses in prenups delineate what will occur financially in the event that one member of the marriage fails to keep up his or her end of the behavioral bargain. The most common type of lifestyle clause in a prenuptial agreement deals with infidelity, according to Forbes. Many celebrities have a prenup that details an infidelity clause: if Justin Timberlake cheats, for example, Jessica Biel will be compensation at least a half million dollars.

Again, these types of clauses are not just for the wealthy. Many ordinary people have found that these types of agreements help to shape a healthy relationship and marriage. As with prenuptial agreements on the whole, having the discussion of what is expected of both partners in the marriage is important for laying the groundwork to a happy relationship.

If, for example, you knew that you would have to pay your spouse a significant sum or lose some of your shared assets if you were found to be unfaithful, would you be less likely to cheat? As many states, including Illinois, have adopted no-fault divorce legal proceedings, lifestyle clauses can provide punitive damages for bad behavior that are no longer covered in divorce law.

These clauses do not always have to be straightforward. Sometimes they can be structured bilaterally, meaning that the “penalty” will be different depending on whether it was the monied or non-monied spouse who was unfaithful. Critics of lifestyle clauses say that they can create unrealistic expectations that can sow distrust early in the marriage. It may not be a great idea, for example, to include a lifestyle clause that lays out an expectation for one spouse to maintain a certain weight or look.

If you are considering a prenuptial agreement—whether you are interested in learning more about lifestyle clauses or not—the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced Glen Ellyn, IL family law attorney today.