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Prenuptial agreements now contain social media clauses

New York family law attorneys are seeing a new trend involving social media in couples who come to them to have prenuptial agreements drawn up. Many are asking for a social media clause to be included in the standard contracts.

"This is relatively new," said one New York-based attorney who has been preparing prenups for the last decade. She nicknames the lifestyle provisions "love contracts," and says they have been requested as postnuptial agreements as well. Basically, they are written documents detailing what is considered acceptable to share about each other online in various social media forums.

As everyone is now aware, the Internet never forgets. Something one husband considers to be an innocuous beach shot of his bikini-clad wife could have negative implications on her career that may affect her earning power. Similarly, a photo of her "over-served" husband appearing rollicking drunk at a pub on St. Paddy's Day could make his boss reconsider him for that promotion to the executive tier.

These social media clauses can also contain a provision that neither party may post nude photos of the other, which comes in especially handy if the marriage hits the skids. Any embarrassing pictures or posts that might damage one's spouse's professional reputation are not allowed.

The consequences of breaking these contracts are costly. A monetary penalty can be quite steep, and is dependent on the individual's wealth. New York City couples with an income of less than $5 million are setting penalties of $50,000 per photo, tweet and post. That's not exactly chump change.

According to the NYC attorney, being able to "contractually limit the damage...helps couples to establish boundaries, what will be off limits, what will be private."

Prenuptial agreements have been around for thousands of years in one form or another, and this is just the latest permutation to cover all bases for loving couples. Your family law attorney can add a social media clause to a pending prenup or draw up a postnuptial agreement to establish clear boundaries.

Source: ABC News, "I Love You, You're Perfect, but Watch What You Facebook: Social Media Prenups" Lauren Effron, Jun. 03, 2014

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