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 fiancé asked you to sign a prenup before you two got married?