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Key point relevant to prenuptial agreements: enforceability

You can't be spotted in a public place showing affection to a person you are dating several years after your divorce?

That sounds flatly crazy, right?

It also reflected reality for actress Katie Holmes following her divorce from media icon Tom Cruise. Reportedly, a prenuptial agreement inked by the couple prior to their marriage stipulated that Holmes could not be seen publicly dating any person for a stated period following marital dissolution.

As noted in a recent media focus upon the contours and legal outer limits applicable to prenuptial agreements, a no-dating clause following divorce "would be highly unusual in a prenup" and almost certainly unenforceable.

With someone like Cruise, though, the rules might be just a bit different, given the actor's deep toolbox of resources/assets and correspondingly heavy clout in bargaining leverage.

The above-cited article notes a number of so-called "lifestyle prenup stipulations" that are being noted in select marital agreements, notwithstanding their lack of any linkage with asset-related matters.

We're talking edge-of-the-table stuff like taboos on weight gain during marriage, who washes the dishes, how much makeup can be worn, how many hours a month can be spent watching TV and so forth.

Commentators say that, while there is no ban against citing such things in a prenuptial agreement, their enforceability is instantly questionable.

A studied online look at prenuptial contracts notes that they "are designed to address financially based issues." Given that, a judge tasked with devoting time to a clause denoting how often a party must walk the dog each week, or how many times a partner can engage in infidelity without consequences, will give a prenup containing any such provisions extremely short shrift.

That is, a court "will often view [such a] document as frivolous, striking it down."

Premarital contracts -- both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements -- are important legal instruments that can promote fundamentally important marital concerns.

In doing so, though, they cannot also contain provisions that violate public policy, ask courts to evaluate purely private domestic matters or overtly stray from legitimate points and considerations relevant to financial matters.

Questions or concerns regarding marital contracts can be candidly discussed with a proven family law attorney having proven experienced negotiating, drafting and enforcing such agreements.

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