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What Californians should know about lifestyle clauses in prenups

Couples who are getting married often consider how they can protect themselves in the event that their marriage does not last. Although this may not be the most romantic thing to think about before a wedding, planning for the future can be a very beneficial move. Too often couples do not discuss finances before marriage which then cause problems later in the marriage. Older couples are also thinking about protecting their children and the agreement becomes a template for their estate plan. These are some of the reasons why so many people have a prenuptial agreement in place.

What this document does for couples is disclose and identify marital property, separate property and spousal support guidelines However, many people across the Sacramento region have also heard of so-called "lifestyle clauses" and may be wondering if these would be appropriate to include in a prenup. There are a few things that may help couples decide.

To begin with, certain lifestyle clauses are generally not enforceable in California. One such clause is the infidelity cause, which many people have heard about because celebrities are known to have this written into their prenup. An infidelity clause essentially states that there will be financial repercussions if one spouse is unfaithful during the course of a marriage.

There are different ways to look at including this type of clause in a prenuptial agreement. On one hand, including the clause could result in a challenge by one spouse who is arguing that the agreement should not be enforced. On the other hand, raising this challenge could make public certain undesirable events and behaviors, which people often shy away from.

It is also argued that having an infidelity clause in a prenup could serve as a way to deter people from engaging in adulterous relationships. Including such a clause is a reminder that there could be serious penalties for certain behaviors. Whether those penalties do damage to a person's bank account or reputation depends on the individual situation.

Understanding how these and other clauses work in a prenuptial agreement can be confusing, but it can also be quite important. In California, there are requirements and limitations for a valid agreement. A couple who is thinking about whether they want to put a prenup in place or not may want to speak with an attorney who can help them develop a fair, effective and enforceable agreement. Couples may choose to meet together with an attorney mediator to have this discussion.

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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