Crazy Prenuptial Agreements

We usually associate prenuptial agreements with finances: how much of one spouse’s worth the other will get if they’re divorced, whether one will get support, who gets the house. They’re don’t really rank high on the wedding cake with doves and hearts flying over it  romance scale, but they have their place.

But the dollars and cents breakdown is only one part of a prenuptial agreement now–some people use them to try to define behavior and conditions of their marriage and these “lifestyle” clauses can get pretty crazy. It’s one thing to state who gets Mittens the cat if the couple splits up, but setting out requirements for the number of times they have sex per week? That’s micromanaging.

Here are some examples of extreme prenuptial clauses:

1. The Big Game One couple’s prenup specified that the husband could only watch one football game with his friends every Sunday. Maybe he was allowed to watch others solo, but having to put this in a prenup brings up a much bigger question: why are you two getting married? If he’s a big sports fan and she doesn’t understand that, then they’re doomed. She doesn’t have to share his passion for football, but why not let him have his fandom and buddy time once a week? Can’t she find something to do on her own? I’ll say it again: if you can’t deal with your soon-to-be-spouse’s hobby or interest and have so much contempt for it that you want to put restrictions on it, then it’s a good thing you’re getting a prenup, because this marriage isn’t going to work.

2. The In-Laws Family can be stressful. Especially when it’s not really your family, but your spouse’s relatives. The stress you get from time with the in-laws can bubble over and cause trouble in your own marriage. With that in mind, maybe prenuptial clauses that put restrictions on contact with in-laws aren’t quite so crazy. One stated that a mother-in-law wasn’t allowed for overnight visits, while another said that visits with family couldn’t last more than two days. One woman who knew her soon to be husband very well put in a clause stating that he would have to pay $10,000 every time he was rude to her mother. I hope they clearly outlined the behavior, words, and phrases that constitute “rude.”

3. Sex by the Numbers I’m not sure what would be going on in a relationship that would make a couple set out sex requirements in a prenuptial agreement, but it does happen. There are reports of an older couple agreeing to sex once a week in their prenup, while a frisky younger couple came up with 3-4 times a week. I wonder if they could buy and sell days from week to week–“I can only do two days this week, but I’m good for five next week.” How do they prove any of this if one claims the terms are being violated? Is there a spreadsheet? Video? But wait, it gets worse–one couple defined the positions allowed during sex. I feel for the lawyer who handled that one.

4. Weight, what’s that? One man specified that his wife couldn’t weigh more than 120 pounds; if she did, she gave up $100,000 of her personal property. My questions: how often did she have to weigh in? People’s weight fluctuates every day (and let’s not even get into what happens during PMS). Would she be violating the agreement if she tipped over 120 pounds due to retaining a little water? Another weight dictator charged his wife $500 for each pound she gained over a certain amount. Luckily, men aren’t the only ones this shallow, though–one woman used her prenup to require her husband to stay under 180 pounds.

So there you go–prenuptial agreements from the sublime to the ridiculous, with the emphasis on ridiculous. Be careful, though, about what you try to outline in your prenuptial agreement because not everything you want will hold up in court. Make sure your lawyer can advise you on what will and won’t fly in your state if the day comes when that agreement is going to be put to the test.