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Using a prenuptial agreement to discourage infidelity

Spouses who decide to divorce may do so for many reasons. When an individual is asked why his or her marriage fell apart, a spouse's infidelity is often cited as the catalyst for filing divorce papers. While it may be difficult to prevent a husband or wife from cheating, a prenuptial agreement may act as a deterrent or at least help ensure a non-cheating spouse will profit handsomely.

Prenuptial agreements are commonly used to establish terms on how assets are to be distributed in the event a couple divorces. Having a prenuptial agreement not only helps clearly define who gets what and how much of it, but also affords an individual and couple more control over the divorce settlement process. While typically the directives of a prenuptial agreement are only relevant in the event a couple divorces, some couples are choosing to include directives that pertain to events during a marriage.

The inclusion of so-called lifestyle clauses are common amongst celebrities or the very wealthy. These clauses are typically included in a prenup in an attempt to control aspects of a marriage and by couples who are trying to either prevent or encourage certain behaviors. For example, a lifestyle clause may attempt to set weight restrictions for a husband or wife or may include language related to who is responsible for certain household duties. Increasingly, the inclusion of clauses related to infidelity has also grown in popularity.

While attorneys admit that often much of what's included in lifestyle clauses are not enforceable, the enforcement of terms related to infidelity clauses are often successful. An infidelity clause typically stipulates that a husband or wife receive a certain dollar amount if his or her spouse cheats during the marriage. Infidelity clauses are often enforceable because an accused spouse doesn't want the matter made public and instead agrees to the terms of a prenuptial agreement.

Minnesota couples who are planning to marry may choose to consider establishing a prenuptial agreement. In addition to providing more control over the division of assets in a divorce, a prenuptial agreement may also help a couple discuss and establish terms that clearly define behaviors that are acceptable and expected during a marriage.

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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