You Want Me To Sign What?!? Getting A Prenup In The 21st Century

My brain is fried from studying so I figured I would take some time and do a non-Bar related post. I read an interesting article in the ABA Journal (original article) dealing with prenups. I am sure you have heard about celebrities putting clauses in their prenups about what happens if one of the spouses commits adultery. Celebrities are now not only putting adultery clauses in their prenups, but they are also putting lifestyle clauses. From my understanding of the reading, lifestyle clauses basically spell out the rules between a couple on how to maintain their relationship. So this would include things like requiring a spouse to maintain a certain weight, look a certain way, how many times they have sex, and things of that nature. Apparently these clauses are not just being used to punish a spouse (for say cheating), but some are also meant to deter spouses from a particular behavior. Keith Urban will not get any money from Nicole Kidman if he goes back to using illegal drugs.

Interestingly enough, the article goes on to mention that it is not sure just how enforceable these clauses are, but celebrity divorce attorney Robert Wallack did have an adultery penalty that he drafted upheld in courts. I do think that the clauses involving things like adultery have a better chance of being upheld than say a clause for a spouse having to maintain a particular body weight.

I have always found the idea of prenups interesting. Logically, I understand the reasoning for them, especially if one spouse comes to the marriage really well off and the other spouse has nothing. I do not think that it is fair for the initially not so well off spouse to come in and take a big chunk of what the well off spouse had before the marriage. Now, on the flip side, I do think the initially not so well off spouse should be entitled to a chunk of what he or she helped the initially well off spouse obtain during their marriage. If the couple works together to become wealthy, then there is no reason that both parties should not benefit from that hard work.

I have heard some people say that signing a prenup is basically setting your marriage up for failure. To a certain extent, I can understand where they are coming from, but I disagree. I know marriage should be about love and you should not be thinking about what happens if the marriage ends. However, with the way the economy and job market is now, I do think this is something a couple should at least think about. To me, signing a prenup is not saying ‘I know this marriage will not work, so let me plan for what happens when it falls apart.’ A prenup is saying, ‘In case this marriage does not work, we already have a plan in place to make the split as painless as possible.’ I have worked in the area of family law and I know just how bitter and vindictive some couples can be towards each other when they are going through a divorce. Prenups are simply one way to cut some of that potential hostility out.

So what do y’all think? Are prenups setting a marriage up for disaster? Would you be offended if your fiancĂ© asked you to sign a prenup before you two got married?

Chapter 1: Law School is Now Complete

As of 11:45am yesterday morning, I am the proud owner of my Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. I have done my time and can now proudly call myself a law school graduate. It seems like just yesterday, or at least last week, that I was sitting in orientation and trying to understand just what I had gotten myself into. I had moved two states away to attend law school in a place where I knew no one.

Law school was like nothing I have ever experienced. It was different from college in that you could not just sit in class and become invisible. Professors made an effort, especially during your first year, to call on every student and subject him/her to the infamous Socratic Method. For those who fear public speaking (like break out in a cold sweat if they have to speak in public), the Socratic Method is a horrid dreadful thing. I am one of the fearful. But you know, I survived it. I even managed to say a few intelligent things and not come off as a totally dummy. I have met some great friends and have had the opportunity to do things that I never would have imagined myself doing.

All in all, I have enjoyed my journey through law school…both the ups and the downs. As this one chapter closes, I move on to the next…the monster known as the Bar Exam. It is basically a two day test that I will be studying for for about two months. While I am not looking forward to taking the test, I am looking forward to what comes after I pass. I will finally be able to do what I have been studying the past three years…help others through the practice of law.