A flawed prenuptial agreement has made it all the way to the highest court of New York State, with the New York Court of Appeals ruling that a flaw in formation can be deadly to a prenup’s enforcement. In a recently decided case, the court ruled against the husband (6-0) for failing to properly acknowledge his signature. Errors like this reinforce the basic contractual nature of prenuptial agreements and stress both the formalities that must be followed and the importance of contacting an experienced matrimonial attorney when making such important life decisions.Millionaire Corner, a website for the well-to-do, released a survey this April that dispelled commonly held stereotypes regarding certain gender views towards prenuptial agreements. When given the choice between five different views ranging from very pro-prenup to very anti-prenup, women identified more with pro-prenup side of the spectrum and their male counterparts identified more towards the antiquated, negative view of prenups. The most telling of these indicate that women lead men, 62% to 54%, in recommending a prenup to a couple getting married, and approximately 50% “don’t feel there are any disadvantages” to a prenuptial agreement between the parties. The same website published another survey days later showing counter-intuitive views of prenups held by older generations, with more than two-thirds of participants over the age of 61 recommending a prenuptial agreement.
Prenuptial agreements, as discussed in a previous post, can often include strange, unorthodox terms. A common specific type of prenup has earned a name among those in the industry: the love contract. Love contracts are meant to put on paper an agreement regarding how the intimate love life of the couple will be conducted. Often in these contracts the terms specify either frequency or methods of lovemaking.
Such language in a prenuptial agreement really can muddy the waters for very limited enforceability, and such obligatory scheduling of a generally spontaneous act could trivialize many portions of the relationship. Suzanne Pelka, a sex therapist, explains that it is “really this false sense of control that we have because we don’t know what’s gonna happen tomorrow.”
So, what happens when someone tries to fight such a clause? Typically these clauses are not enforceable within the marriage. Aside from demeaning the basic nature of intimacy, if a partner fails to meet the obligations outlined by the agreement, the only thing it may affect is the division of property during a divorce. These documents can not be referred to during the marriage or act as a supporting document to how the partner must act. No breach of contract cause of action can exist when it comes to “love contracts”.
Continue reading ›