Why are attorneys so lukewarm about ‘lifestyle clauses’ in prenups?

If an engaged friend or family member was to inform you of their intention to execute a prenuptial agreement, chances are good that you wouldn’t have too much of a reaction. That’s largely because society as a whole has become far more accepting of these legally binding documents and the peace of mind they can grant to couples about important issues like property division and alimony.

If, however, a friend or family member was to inform you of their intention to include so-called lifestyle clauses in their prenuptial agreement, chances are you might have a completely different reaction, including confusion or perhaps even revulsion.  

For those unfamiliar with the idea of lifestyle clauses — or “love contracts” — they are essentially sections within a prenuptial agreement calling for spouses to abide by certain highly personal conditions.

For example, spouses may promise to abstain from alcohol or illegal drugs, spend a set amount of time with each another, abide by certain social media practices or even stay within a certain weight range.

While proponents of lifestyle clauses argue that they can set the foundation for openness and honesty, and help get a marriage back on track should any difficulties arise, many in the legal community are not quite so receptive to these provisions.

Indeed, there are three primary reasons why many family law attorneys shun lifestyle clauses:

  • They are almost always unenforceable in court and perhaps nothing more than a ploy to make one spouse, who is perhaps at a bargaining disadvantage, feel as if they received more than they actually did.
  • Their unenforceability could potentially result in a judge invalidating an entire prenuptial agreement (in the absence of a severability clause).
  • They can serve as an unnecessary reminder of broken promises to an already embittered spouse, thereby increasing the odds of a bitter divorce battle.

What are your thoughts on the idea of lifestyle clauses? Is it anything you would ever consider? 

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