If your partner leaves tea bags around the house, or makes an obnoxious lip-smacking sound after taking a sip of water, here's one way to rid them of their annoying little habits: threaten legal action. The latest trend in celebrity weddings is pre-nuptial "lifestyle clauses," which establish ground rules within a marriage on such issues as fidelity, weight gain, and even how much sex the couple is required (yes, required) to have.
Via the Daily News:
“Lifestyle clauses are on the rise,” said New York City-based matrimonial attorney Robert Wallack, who represented Christie Brinkley and Damon Dash, among others, in recent high-profile divorces.
“It used to be for better or worse, and you went with it. Now people want to dictate how the couple will live within the marriage.”
The agreements, also known as "love contracts," have reportedly been embraced by celebrity couples such as Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas, who reportedly signed a pre-nuptial agreement where she would earn $5 million if he cheated on her; Mark Zuckerberg's wife Priscilla Chan, who purportedly made the Facebook mogul sign a lifestyle clause stipulating that he would spend at least one night and "100 minutes of quality time" with her a week.
Although "love contracts" sound like typical examples of celebrity micro-management, they serve more of a psychological purpose than a legal one. According to attorney Ann-Marie Carozza, many love contracts are not valid in court, but "it’s useful for the couple to discuss goals, and it’s more likely to stick.” Love contracts are also not restricted to the wealthy and famous: clients negotiate lifestyle clauses based on minor issues such as relations with in-laws, keeping pets, or watching sports on TV.
Unfortunately, but perhaps unsurprisingly, how much weight a partner is allowed to gain is also a popular stipulation (a NYMag feature cites a case where the wife was fined $500 per pound). Queens-based film producer Gregg Sullivan, for instance, has vowed to keep himself "healthy and trim" for his girlfriend:
“If I let myself go and abandon her sexually, she has the right to have sex with any other person she wants,” says Sullivan, who is not married but plans to get hitched one day. “It’s not grounds for divorce, but it keeps me on my toes. I want to be her man.”
Welcome to the brave new world of holy matrimony.