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Marital contracts increasingly creative: Legal counsel advised

So, you're about to be married and thinking that a bit of safeguarding might be in order prior to the nuptials.

Maybe you're entering a second marriage and want to ensure that certain separate property you've got remains so designated and ultimately ends up in the hands of your adult children. Or, perhaps, you have a sizable inheritance that you'd just simply rather keep to yourself and away from your soon-to-be spouse and kids he has from a previous marriage.

A prenuptial agreement -- and, sometimes, a postnuptial contract, which is entered into following a marriage -- can be the ideal legal instrument for addressing such matters and putting intentions into writing.

Prenups and postnups have gained traction in recent years in Arkansas and nationally, and not just with high-asset couples. And, although property-related issues tend to predominate such agreements, courts are also seeing many other -- and quite diverse -- considerations cropping up in such contracts that have very little, if anything, to do with money.

Many of those matters are addressed in what are commonly called “lifestyle clauses,” which a recent family law contributor to Forbes states are “guidelines for behavior within the marriage.”

A number of readers can likely made quick and accurate guesses as to what types of subject matter might feature in such clauses.

As writer Jeff Landers notes, the subject of infidelity is a popular topic, as are matters that range widely over issues involving household duties, vacations, religious choices, working outside the home and other matters.

It is generally advisable for any person thinking about executing a marital contract to get early advice and drafting assistance from a proven divorce attorney, and that is especially true when such an agreement contains one or more lifestyle clauses.

The reason: States differ on their views regarding legal enforcement over such subject matter. Although a court in one state might readily enforce a clause on infidelity, for example, a court in another state might strike down the contract as being against public policy.

A family law attorney experienced in working with prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can answer questions and fully promote a client’s best interests.

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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