Prenuptial agreements are a common marriage tool employed by wealthy couples or couples with a high degree of unequal earning. Prenuptials, as our Columbus divorce lawyers have mentioned before, are a powerful resource for couples at any income level—it provides clarity about money behavior, lends transparency to each spouse’s expectation, and even offers a way of strengthening your marriage by building trust and mutual understanding of the other’s needs.
In a previous blog on prenuptial mistakes, we mentioned that one common mistake was setting terms that are unenforceable. Regardless of how the terms are set, there are some things the court will not enforce—for example, an unmet stipulation demanding weekly sex will certainly not be honored by a judge as grounds for unequal property distribution. Prenups still have to honor the law.
However, that hasn’t stopped some couples (particularly celebrities) from putting some truly outrageous demands in writing. Below, we’ve outlined some of the strangest (but perhaps meaningful) prenups our Columbus divorce attorneys have seen or heard of.
#1: Fines for Every Time You Cheat
This one might be more common than you might think. Reportedly, multiple celebrities—including Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie, Justin Timberlake & Jessica Biel, and others—have included an infidelity clause in their prenups. Justin Timberlake risks paying $500,000 for cheating on his wife, while Brad Pitt has allegedly agreed to give up primary custody if he cheats on Angelina. Catherine Zeta-Jones can reportedly expect millions in her account if Michael Douglas ever cheats on her.
This clause is actually fairly common for couples who want to protect the integrity of their marriage with regard to finances. If someone marries a serial adulterer with a great deal of cash, for instance, their sense of security could be threatened on a daily basis.
However, despite how common these are, no widely-reported case has ever enforced an infidelity clause—especially as detailed infidelity clauses tend to veer into the ridiculous.
#2: Each Child Worth Millions
Beyoncé and Jay Z reportedly include a clause in their prenup that if they ever divorced, Beyoncé would receive $5 million for each child she bears during the marriage. That’s not for child support, mind you—her career is dependent on being active in her businesses, whether it’s fashion, sponsorship, album production, or touring. Everyone knows that 9 months of pregnancy can put a significant slow-down on a woman’s career—in Beyoncé’s case, those 9 months are worth twice as much as the average worker’s lifetime.
#3: Four-Footed Child Custody
Increasing numbers of prenups are including clauses about custody over the family dog. While dogs have long been considered members of the family, it’s only recently that couples will fight for their rights like an actual human child. This one is likely to be less and less strange as more couples turn to dog ownership instead of having kids.
Pet custody agreements are a fairly recent creation, as pets have often been considered property. You wouldn’t share custody over a pet in the same way you wouldn’t share “custody” of a car. However, couples may both want the dog in their lives, which necessitates a custody agreement of some kind. Of all the prenuptial clauses on this list, pet custody is one of the few that courts have been known to recognize.
#4: Two-Day Cap on Time with In-Laws
An article about prenups mentioned that an attorney once prepared a document with a specific stipulation: the couple could not spend longer than 2 consecutive days with either one’s parents. It’s not for us to comment on the nature of in-laws, but we do know that spending time with family is stressful. Perhaps it could be argued that this clause is for the sake of the marriage—that said, I doubt this clause could have any serious legal weight.
#5: Fines for Gaining Weight
For models and athletes, their weight is directly tied to their livelihood. Airlines in the 60s (and certain restaurants more recently) infamously subjected their female employees to weight and measurement clauses. Employment depended on their ability to keep weight off. While such clauses are unethical or outright illegal for workplaces, that hasn’t stopped some couples from employing the same strategies.
One couple included a prenup clause that limited a wife’s weight to 120 pounds. If the wife ended up weighing in at 121 or higher, she would give up $100,000 of her separate property. A clause in another prenup fined the wife $500 for each pound gained over the course of a marriage. While beauty standards are often inflicted on women, one clause limited the husband’s weight to 180.
Many married couples try to stay fit and healthy for the sake of their spouse—but these clauses take it far beyond reasonable. We doubt any court would enforce these terms, even if they were mutual.
#6: Voiding a Contract in the Event of a Relapse
This prenuptial might be the only one a judge would find worth enforcing. Nicole Kidman’s prenuptial agreement with Keith Urban includes a generous stipulation: $640,000 for every year of marriage goes to Keith in the event of a divorce. However, there is one condition that would render all post-marriage support completely voided: if Keith ever relapses into drug addiction.
The practicalities of such an arrangement would be a little invasive—would Keith submit to monthly drug tests?—but the idea is a laudable one. If anything, that clause is more to protect Keith’s life than Nicole’s assets.
There you have it—some of the strangest (and strangely popular) prenup clauses in the legal landscape.
If you would like help creating a prenuptial agreement that a court would actually enforce and validate, give our Columbus divorce lawyers a call at (614) 428-0266. Weis + O’Connor have the skill and foresight to protect your marriage and your livelihood should your marriage ever end in divorce.