The Marriage Diet

Did you know that marriage can keep you thin?  I call it the marriage diet.  For if you have a lifestyle clause in your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, you may have contracted to keep your weight at a certain level, refrain from cheating, or engage in sexual relations with a certain frequency, for example.  If you don’t do what you agreed to do, your spouse could have the right to divorce you and perhaps even withhold payments to you.

Recently, I was asked to contribute to an article on Forbes.com concerning lifestyle clauses in prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.  See article by clicking here.  The article focused more specifically on infidelity clauses in agreements.  However, as mentioned, parties can include a variety of clauses in an agreement in an attempt to control their partner’s behavior.  The big question is whether these clauses are enforceable.

As I commented, lifestyle clauses are very difficult to enforce.  No judge is going to require you to step on a scale, hire a private eye to follow you or monitor your sexual activity.  And if your spouse has the evidence to prove that you broke the promise that you made to control your weight or other behaviors, whether you will suffer the consequences set forth in your agreement remains a question for the presiding court.

Nonetheless, lifestyle clauses like all other aspects of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, force parties to discuss difficult issues that they otherwise would avoid.  More important than discussing the behaviors that constitute these lifestyle clauses, parties are forced to discuss financial issues, such as what will happen to their property in the event of a divorce or even death.  How will they manage their finances?  Will they have joint accounts or separate accounts?  Will one spouse forfeit his or her career and rely on the other for financial support?  Discussion and agreement on these issues are crucial not only for the purposes of these agreements, but also for a strong marriage.

So even if the marriage diet is not in the cards for you, discussing the issues that your partner deems important before you get married or before you head for divorce, just might save your relationship.

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About Family Law Focus
The Family Law Focus blog provides highlights, updates and insights on complex family disputes including divorce, division of property, and alimony; child and spousal support; child custody; domestic violence; pre- and post-nuptial agreements; name changes; and adoption or termination of parental rights.
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The Editor

Attorney Jennifer A. Brandt, chair of Cozen O'Connor's Family Law practice, has represented a wide variety of clients in hundreds of family law cases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Jennifer is a regular legal commentator on national and local television outlets such as CNN, Fox New Network, HLN, MSNBC, Fox29, ABC News, NBC and CBS and frequently writes and contributes to articles in numerous publications, including the Huffington Post, Fox Business.com, The PhiIly Post, Avvo.com, Allparenting.com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Business Journal, the National Law Journal, and Main Line Today magazine.
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