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Lifestyle Clauses and Prenuptial Agreements

Posted on in Family Law

lifestyle clauses, Illinois Family Law AttorneyMost couples considering marriage tend to dismiss prenuptial agreements as tools for the super-wealthy. While prenups are often useful for protecting those who bring a large amount of wealth into a marriage, there are additional benefits—lifestyle clauses. Unlike ordinary prenuptial agreement clauses that deal with what can happen in the event of divorce, lifestyle clauses take advantage of the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act and set out certain behaviors of which spouses agree to abide.

Understanding Lifestyle Clauses

Lifestyle clauses are contractual clauses —an engaged couple promises to abide by certain rules for the duration of a marriage. If a spouse violates a clause, there is usually a financial penalty. Clauses can cover a lot of ground and do not necessarily have to apply to both spouses equally. In fact, lifestyle clauses can penalize spouses for infidelity, set the number of children to be had in a marriage, or even deal with more minute issues.

Examples of potential lifestyle clauses include the following:

  • How a couple's children will be raised (e.g. what schools they will attend or region in which they will be raised);

  • How much time a couple must spend with either set of in-laws;

  • How often spouses can go out with their friends;

  • How often the spouses have sex; or

  • How much weight a spouse is allowed to gain.

Of course, with such a wide array of potentially intrusive options, there are possible concerns to keep in mind when considering the implementation of a lifestyle clause.

Potential Concerns

One of the greatest concerns regarding lifestyle clauses is whether or not a court will enforce them. These clauses are a reasonably new innovation, and it is possible that a court may not think it is good public policy to hold spouses accountable for some of the more drastic or personal clauses. Beyond that, courts may also look for a high degree of clarity when enforcing these contracts. Therefore, it is important that the spouses' rights and responsibilities be set out in an unambiguous way.

Finally, there is potential for these clauses to negatively affect a relationship. Overly intrusive lifestyle clauses may breed resentment between spouses.

Consult with a Knowledgeable Illinois Family Law Attorney Today

If you are getting married and find the potential clarity that lifestyle clauses can provide appealing, please contact a skilled McHenry County family law attorney today to learn more about prenuptial agreements and your legal options.

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