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Prenuptial agreements with a personal touch

People have come to call them "lifestyle clauses." They're stipulations that spouses-to-be include in their prenuptial agreements, in which now the protection of the individuals' property and monetary assets are not the only concern.

For example, one couple in Queens put limits on the amount of weight they can gain. If the man or woman goes over the decided weight, then consequences, monetary or otherwise, will result. In this case, the woman said the clause is an incentive to stay healthy.

Other and arguably stranger agreements have cropped up, dealing with issues ranging from time spent with in-laws and the number of pets a spouse can have.

Usually, though, the main purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to ensure financial protection. When properly drafted, these agreements can include stipulations aimed at protecting your heirs' rights as well as your business assets, real estate, retirement accounts and pensions. A prenuptial agreement can also clarify matters such as whether the couple will have children, what religion the family will practice and whether the family will consider relocating for a job opportunity.

As for the more cosmetic goals a couple may have, the key to making lifestyle clauses legally sound is the language itself. Any couple that wants to reduce risk as much as possible as they embark on a life together would do well to look into their options for a solid prenuptial agreement. These agreements are not an indicator that couples expect to get divorced. Rather, a prenuptial agreement is a tool that a couple can use to create a firm footing for their marriage.

Source: ABC 7, "Lifestyle clauses create unusual prenuptial agreements," Stacy Sager, Feb. 13, 2013

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