Prior to their marriage, many couples use a prenuptial agreement to clarify various assets that each party brings into the relationship. From home and vehicle ownership to retirement funds and savings accounts, years into the marriage might blur the clear memory of who owned what. Couples can use this marital contract, however, to accurately record assets and debts. The couple can also suggest the division of these assets should divorce become a reality.
Whether this is an individual’s second or subsequent marriage, an attempt at humor, or factors that one party would like to control in the other, it is not uncommon for couples to overstep the boundaries of what they can include in the prenuptial agreement. Individuals commonly refer to one factor as a lifestyle provision.
Couples might initially attempt to include lifestyle terms in a prenuptial agreement to help avoid future disputes. Unfortunately, the court will not recognize these terms and will likely invalidate sections of the premarital contract. Examples can include:
- Fitness: Some couples will attempt to include terms related to exercise regimens or even acceptable weight loss or weight gain.
- Vacation: The parties might attempt to agree to vacation destinations or compromise about who chooses. This legal document is not the place for this discussion.
- Intimacy: It is not uncommon for one party or both to attempt to include terms related to intimacy in a prenuptial agreement.
- Chores: The couple might draft a provision that stipulates who completes which household chores. They might even attempt to negotiate a compromise. This, unfortunately, is not the proper forum for the discussion.
The prenuptial agreement serves to clarify financial matters focused mostly on asset ownership. The court is unlikely to approve provisions of a personal nature.
Historically, the prenuptial agreement has suffered a poor reputation. Whether due to its portrayal in entertainment media or preconceived notions based on anecdotal evidence, individuals often saw this document as evidence of couples taking a step toward divorce at the beginning of the marriage. Fortunately, people recognize the premarital agreement as the tool the legal system designed it to be. Couples can record elements of their personal finances that might fade years or decades later.