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Lifestyle Provisions in Prenups: What is Allowed?

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One of the main benefits of a prenuptial agreement is the fact that it often allows a couple to better ensure they start their marital relationship off on the same page. Provisions within these documents can be used to clarify expectations about a wide array of issues. However, like any legal document, some attempt to push the limits of what is allowed within a prenuptial agreement.

Happy couple showing their ringA 2017 feature in Market Watch discussed some of the outrageous provisions used within these agreements. One example used a provision that reduced the amount of alimony available if a spouse gains weight after the wedding. In another, an ex’s settlement was negatively impacted if he or she was seen publicly dating within a certain period of time after the divorce was finalized. It is unlikely that either provision would survive a challenge in court. Yet as ridiculous as these provisions may seem, they provide an opportunity to discuss prenuptial agreements and what the law allows.

What is allowed within a prenuptial agreement? Prenuptial agreements are creatures of state law. As such, the particulars can vary depending on the state. This piece provides some fairly basic examples but is written with Pennsylvania state law in mind.

Provisions within these documents that address conduct during the marital relationship are generally not enforceable. Something regarding weight gain during the marriage, as noted above, or religious affiliations would not likely survive if challenged. However, a reduction in the divorce settlement agreement for infidelity may survive.

How can one ensure a prenup survives a legal challenge? A strong prenuptial agreement must meet certain legal requirements. Two examples in Pennsylvania are the voluntariness of the agreement and disclosure of assets.

  • Voluntariness. Prenuptial agreements, also referred to as premarital agreements in Pennsylvania, must be voluntary. If evidence is present that one party was pressured into signing the agreement, it may fail.
  • Disclosure. Pennsylvania state law also requires that both parties must provide a fair disclosure of their assets or voluntary waive this right.

A prenuptial agreement lawyer can help to tailor one of these documents to meet your relationship. This legal professional will help to better ensure all the legal requirements for the prenup are met and that the document is a true reflection of your needs.

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