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Should you include a lifestyle clause in your prenup?

Prenuptial agreements have become increasingly common in today's family law world. Although once viewed as offensive or distasteful, today many people in Texas and elsewhere recognize the benefits of setting clear expectations about finances and other assets before getting married.

While prenups have become more common, they themselves have also evolved over time. Today, some couples choose to go beyond financial stipulations and add so-called lifestyle clauses to their agreements.

A lifestyle clause is one that addresses something other than assets, such as household chores or infidelity. Generally, if a couple includes a lifestyle clause, there is some financial penalty for violating it. For example, if a husband cheats on his wife and they had a clause in their prenup prohibiting cheating, he may owe her more money in alimony if they get divorced. If the situation were reversed and the wife cheated, the husband may owe her less in alimony.

Lifestyle clauses, however, don't always hold up in a divorce. Today, all 50 states have removed the concept of "fault" from divorce filings. This means you no longer have to provide a reason for getting divorced. Because of this, some judges are reluctant to allow a spouse to benefit financially from something -- like infidelity -- that caused a divorce. Other times, proving infidelity or failure to keep a house clean can be difficult if definitions are not explicitly spelled out in the prenup.

On the other hand, those who violate a lifestyle clause, don't always challenge them in fear that the violation may be made public.

Although there is not much of a guarantee that a lifestyle clause will hold up in a divorce, some couples still choose to include them simply because they provide clear expectations for a marriage. If you are considering including a lifestyle clause in your prenuptial agreement, it may be worth consulting with your attorney first. He or she can help explain the likelihood of it being upheld should you choose to divorce.

Source: Forbes, "Can A Prenup Or A Postnup With An Infidelity Clause Deter A Husband From Cheating?" Jeff Landers, March 13, 2014

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