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Prenuptial lifestyle clauses: Will they hold up in divorce court?

More and more couples are completing prenuptial agreements before saying their wedding vows. In the past, most people considered these types of agreements to be used only by wealthy individuals who wanted to keep their assets if the marriage failed. However, even those with few assets are turning to prenuptial agreements, but for different reasons. Lifestyle clauses have become more common in prenuptial agreements, and the most frequent of these involve a spouse's fidelity.

Some of our readers may have heard about celebrities who reportedly have such clauses in their prenuptial agreements. For example, Jessica Biel will reportedly receive half a million dollars if Justin Timberlake should stray. If Michael Douglas steps out on Catherine Zeta-Jones, it will reportedly cost him millions of dollars.

One attorney reports that one reason for the increase in lifestyle clauses is because many states, including New Jersey, now allow no-fault divorces. In other words, a spouse's infidelity is not usually used against him or her when it comes to the division of marital assets.

So, do prenuptial agreements with lifestyle clauses stand up in court? The answer is that it depends on the court. For example, a judge in California ruled that a prenup's infidelity clause was not valid because of the state's no-fault law when it comes to divorce. Part of the problem is also that proving a spouse has cheated can be difficult.

If you want more information about how New Jersey laws affect a prenuptial or postnuptial (after marriage) agreement, a family law professional may be able to help.

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

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