Prenup: An opt-out option in the marriage contract?

Getting married is something that should not be undertaken without much thought. It’s supposed to be a lifetime commitment, and it should be approached that way. Unfortunately, more than 53 percent of all marriages end in divorce in the United States.

With divorce rates still so high, many people who decide to get married have a prenuptial agreement in place. This legally binding contract is almost like an opt-out document, giving one or both people in the marriage a valid reason to divorce if something listed in the agreement happens, and how the assets will be divided if it happens. Many divorce attorneys say that lack of agreement on how to divide marital property is the main reason divorce cases drag on. If these issues are decided before the marriage and the people still agree if and when the marriage ends, the divorce process will go smoothly.

Common clauses in a prenuptial agreement

• Infidelity. If either spouse cheats on the other, the marriage will be terminated. There may be an additional clause about what happens to marital property when someone is unfaithful.

• Personal property. The most common ground in a prenuptial agreement is that anything either person brought to the marriage in the form of property is theirs in the event of divorce.

• Marital property. Some couples determine how marital property will be divided in the event of a divorce.

• Validity. Many prenuptial agreements will have a “validity of marriage” clause that states that the other person is not entitled to any property, personal or marital, if the marriage ends before two full years have passed from the date of the marriage.

Unusual clauses in prenuptial agreements

• Mother-in-law rules. Some agreements have been known to contain language that limits the amount of time a mother-in-law can spend residing in the couple’s home, how many visits are allowed per year, and how much interference she can have in her life.

• Weight restrictions. Some couples choose to put a weight restriction in their prenuptial agreement that states that their spouse cannot gain more than 10 pounds, unless she is pregnant, without starting divorce proceedings.

• Separate Vacations. Some prenuptial agreements require the couple to take separate vacations each year, no questions asked.

• Intimacy levels. Various prenuptial agreements have been written that require a minimum amount of intimacy each week and failure of either spouse to comply in this manner can result in an automatic divorce.

Is it necessary to have a prenuptial agreement?

Many people believe that by creating a prenuptial agreement they are setting their marriage up for failure. They believe that they are creating conditions in which the marriage has no chance of success. However, a prenuptial agreement is simply a contract, an agreement, and a way for each individual to protect her best interests. Just because you have a prenup does not mean you will have to use it in the future.

A prenuptial agreement is something to consider when one or both parties are getting married with their own personal assets and want to ensure that these assets are protected. These agreements also provide clarification for both parties as to where they stand if they decide to part ways at a later date.

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