Many New York residents who fall in love and begin a long-term relationship usually expect that the relationship will last a lifetime. However, the legally binding contracts associated with long-term relationships, such as prenuptial agreements, are supposedly getting much longer and, sometimes, even more unusual. Prenuptial agreements are no longer for the rich and famous and, more and more, are containing what are known as love contracts.

For years, the press reported on the alleged lifestyle clauses that the rich, famous and powerful included in their prenuptial agreements. These amounted to financial penalties that were incurred when a partner, say, did not keep a pre-agreed weight, violated gambling restrictions or failed in his or her promise to not use illegal drugs. Some of these clauses even stipulated how much time the couple was to spend together each week.

Premarital agreements, as well as cohabitation agreements, are usually addressed or come into play at the end of a relationship. However, these love contracts, or lifestyle clauses, that are placed within these legal documents are often meant to be a relationship blueprint to keep the couple together. Now, they are catching on with the general public, whether officially married or no. One expert estimated that almost one-third of relationship agreements now include these clauses, and the trend increased by around 10 percent last year.

In the past, many individuals were only concerned with obtaining a will to allocate their assets when they died. Now, individuals are including clauses to address issues related to social media no-nos, like uploading an embarrassing image to Instagram, or quality-time activities like reading a book together. Whatever the contract clauses New York couples choose to include, they often consult an experienced family law attorney when drafting their initial prenuptial agreements.

Source: cnbc.com, “Laying the groundwork for a lifetime of love“, Constance Gustke, Aug. 8, 2015