We’re all wise enough to know that marriage isn’t always forever. As discerning as you can try to be, sometimes the person you thought was “the one” turns out not to be. In this day and age, it’s not uncommon to sign a prenuptial agreement before saying “I do.”
A woman took to Reddit’s r/LegalAdvice, however, when she found her prenup had some interesting clauses.
The post reads,
“My fiance is a neurosurgeon and has been wonderfully successful in his field, so when he asked me for a prenup I wasn’t too surprised and I am all for them actually. So I did the standard procedure and sat down with my fiance’s father, whom is a lawyer, and he helped break it all down for me.”
First red flag.
The fiancé’s father is the lawyer walking her through the document. It’s not like he’s biased or anything, right?
The next section explains why she made the post.
“My fiance put a few odd clauses in our prenup, such as an infidelity clause so if I cheat on him, I walk away with basically nothing.”
Great way to start a relationship built on mutual trust.
“Along with that, he put in a clause that stated that I have to lose any weight I gain after child birth, at least 30lbs of it in the first year following childbirth.”
This is the biggest red flag. We should be kind to our bodies. Childbirth puts a lot of strain on a person’s body, and to have these kinds of expectations is ridiculous.
Not to mention, everyone’s bodies are different. Some women can lose the weight easily, while others will take more time, if they can lose it at all.
Why would you put that kind of pressure on your partner?
“The oddest of them all to me is the compensation for children clause. I am not sure if I interpreted this correctly so anyone may correct me, but in the prenup my fiance mentioned that for every child I have for him, I get a chunk of money.
“Which to me doesn’t sound legal but maybe it is?”
“My main question is are all these clauses enforceable in court? What makes any of them invalid?
“I haven’t signed yet and would like to get insight from someone other than my future father in law as I feel he may mislead me if his son were to benefit from it.”
In all the advice, there was one common thread:
Get your own lawyer to review the document.
“You need to get your own attorney, that has no affiliation with your husband or his family.”
“Consult your own lawyer. The father is not your lawyer. I suspect he is also not a family practice attorney because if was and he’s representing his son (which would be a BAD idea in any case) he would never try to put these clauses in AND he would insist on you getting your own representation (even to the extent of telling your fiance to pay for one). Why? Because the inevitable challenge to the prenup upon your divorce (because you’re marrying a cad) is a lot more likely to be successful if you didn’t have legal representation and especially more likely if there are particularly onerous clauses and with some holding out as if you are being given legal advice by your future father-in-law.
That said, none of that means you WILL be successful in challenging the most important parts of the prenup and it will be exceedingly painful to do so. So lawyer up. You cannot afford not to.
Also, you know… don’t marry this guy.”
“Get your own lawyer. Not your fiance’s father or anyone from his firm. Out of curiosity, is there a similar fidelity clause for him? What are the consequences if he has an affair? It seems weird that he’d be paying you to have children, given that he’d probably be paying you out of shared marital assets anyway. I dunno. Is it worth it?”
While you might get away with going to the internet for legal advice in smaller matters, big, complicated contracts all but require someone who knows what they’re doing to negotiate on your behalf.
Advice number two:
Make it equal.
“You can also make him sign some conditions. Eg. If he goes bald, he needs to pay you some amount. If he is unfaithful, all conditions of the prenup are null and void.”
“You need a lawyer to represent your interests here. If I were in your shoes, I’d want a counter clause saying that he needs to provide childcare and a personal trainer, nutritionist and chef to come to your home while you’re trying to meet his unrealistic expectations. Weight doesn’t always come off, no matter how hard you work at it, and it’s going to be a struggle when you’re caring for an infant while trying to lose a little over half a pound per week. Also, keep in mind that if you’ll be breastfeeding, that impacts your body weight as well (you need more calories to produce milk). That’s not even considering the possibility of PPD or other issues that may prevent you from meeting this expectation.”
“Definitely consult your own lawyer. Remember marriage is a partnership and you have assets to protect as well as he does – you should not sign his pre-nup, you should both sign a pre-nup that protects you both.
So for example, assuming you are ok with his stipulations, have counter stipulations – what if he cheats? What about his weight? (Men gain weight to!) And about those kids he wants you to have – what if one of you is infertile and you use medical interventions (surrogate, egg donor, sperm donor, etc) or adopt – are there protections or clauses for that situation? Are there other concerns you have? Etc.”
Anything he was asking of her should, at minimum, have him making the same commitments, if they belong in the contract at all.
Would it be fair if she had difficulty losing weight after giving birth, yet he let himself go after getting her to sign this? What happens if he cheats?
While millennials are known for killing industries (those poor diamond cartels), they have also been resurrecting the prenup. In 2016, a survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found an increase in prenup agreements among adults under 40.
Next, they need to learn what is fair to put in a prenup and what shouldn’t make it in there at all.