Prenuptial agreements, (a.k.a. prenups), are legal contracts that are entered into by a couple before they get married. These agreements typically outline how assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce. While prenups are often thought of as being only for the wealthy, they can be beneficial for any couple, regardless of their financial situation.
There are tons of pop culture stories floating around out there about different prenups. Here are the top 10 prenup stories that showcase the diversity of prenups and the reasons why couples choose to have them.
#1: The celebrity prenup
Many celebrities have prenups in place to protect their wealth and assets. One famous example is the prenup between Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, which reportedly included a $1 million payout for each year of marriage, with a cap of $10 million. They ended up lasting just about seven years, so Kim should be receiving about $6 million from Kanye, per the prenup. Supposedly, Kim and Kanye also have a life insurance policy requirement in the agreement that marks Kim as the beneficiary for life, and she will receive $20 million (even if they get divorced!).
Here are some other examples of popular celebrity prenup clauses:
Infidelity clause: Some celebrities include infidelity clauses in their prenups that stipulate that if one partner cheats, they will receive a lump sum payment in the event of a divorce. For example, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas allegedly have stipulated in their prenup that Michael shall pay Catherine $5 million if he cheats.
Weight clause: Some celebrities include clauses that stipulate that their partner must maintain a certain weight or body shape. The infamous weight clause that comes to many people’s minds when they hear this is the Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo prenup. Their prenup apparently stated that Jessica could not gain more than 135 pounds, and if she does, she owes him $500,000 per pound over 135. They never ended up getting married… we wonder why…
Social media clause: Some celebrities (and even us regular folk) may include clauses stipulating that their partner cannot post pictures or information about their relationship on social media without their consent or may not post damaging content at all. Some clauses may even require payment to the damaged spouse if the other posts something “bad.”
Appearance clause: Some celebrities include clauses that say that their partner must maintain a certain level of appearance, including dress, hair, and grooming.
Career clause: Some celebrities include clauses that stipulate that their partner cannot interfere with their career or public image.
Privacy clause: Some celebrities include clauses that say that their partner cannot reveal any private information about them or their relationship to the media. This clause is not just for celebs but for anyone. In fact, nearly 80% of HelloPrenup users also want to keep their privacy with a clause in their prenup.
Spending clause: Some celebrities include clauses that limit their partner’s spending or require them to account for all their expenses.
Child-rearing clause: Some celebrities include clauses that stipulate that they have the final say on matters related to their children, such as schooling, religion, and extracurricular activities.
Sex clause: There have been reports of celebs putting sex clauses into their prenup, which requires a certain amount of sex during the marriage. One infamous case of this allegedly stems from Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez’s early 2000’s relationship. The prenup supposedly requires that there is sex at least four times a week, at the very minimum.
Pet clause: Both celebs and regular people include clauses that specify who will keep the pets in the event of a divorce. Did you know that HelloPrenup offers pet clause options? Well, now you know! If you are interested in learning more, click here!
#2: The Second-Time-Around Prenup
Many couples who are getting married for a second or third time choose to have a prenup in order to protect assets from previous marriages and divorces. They may have already been through the wringer with a divorce or two and don’t want to lose any more than they already have. Not to mention protecting any wealth they can for their children from other relationships.
Take Tom Cruise, for instance; he married Katie Holmes, which would make her his third wife. Tom had quite the marriage and divorce from Nicole Kidman (if anyone remembers the famous photo of Nicole leaving her attorney’s office after finalizing the divorce, see EXHIBIT A below).
Back to Katie and Tom’s prenup. Allegedly, this third marriage prenup included lump sum payments to Katie in the event of divorce, depending on how long the marriage lasted. With Tom grossing $75 million in 2011, it’s likely that this payout for Katie was pretty hefty. According to E News, Katie was probably getting a divorce payout of $1 million for every year that they were married.
#3: The Pet-Nup
Some couples choose to have a prenup that addresses the care and custody of pets in the event of a divorce. This can include clauses outlining who will get custody of the pets and how expenses for their care will be divided. Just like millennials killed the napkin industry and created the avocado toast industry, they’re also bolstering the pet-nup industry. According to Businesswire, 67% of millennials considered their pets their “fur babies” and, on average, spent $1,285 on their pets every year.
#4: The Blended Family Prenup
One California mom of two, Debbie, had already been through a divorce and was planning marriage #2 with her boyfriend, Rick. She wanted a prenup and beautifully stated that she shouldn’t have to give up her assets to a second spouse when she now has two children. Plus, she worked all her life until this point, so why should it go to him? Her boyfriend, Rick, was against prenups, even though this was his second marriage, and he also had kids from another relationship! His thought process was that in marriage, everything should be shared. After months of mulling it over, Rick finally agreed that a prenup was the right thing to do.
Rick and Debbie included a few major themes in their prenup: equality, inheritance, and fairness. Specifically, (1) they made sure their kids got their inheritance (Rick’s inheritance goes to his kids, and Debbie’s inheritance goes to her kids), (2) they made sure all property was considered separate property, and (3) their prenup would include a sunset clause which means the prenup was set to expire in 20 years from the time of marriage.
Debbie explained that the sunset clause was a great negotiation chip to get Rick on board with the prenup. The sunset clause basically said the prenup is null after 20 years, and the default state law will apply if they get divorced from that point on.
#5: The Debt Prenup
Some couples choose to have a prenup in order to clearly define how debts will be divided in the event of a divorce. This can include clauses outlining who will be responsible for paying off certain debts and how they will be divided. For example, you might outline in your prenup that pre-existing debts are separate debts, and the other spouse is not responsible for them. Debts that are accrued in the future during the marriage can also be addressed in the prenup and made separate. Let’s look at a story of how this might work out in the real world.
Kelly and Joe live in Boston and are engaged to be married. Joe is a software engineer, and Kelly is a lawyer. Kelly makes about $200,000 per year, while Joe makes around $500,000 working for big tech. Kelly has $240,000 in law school debt, and Joe has no debt. Joe worries that he will be responsible for this debt in the future if the worst were to happen. He brings up the possibility of a prenup to Kelly. At first, she’s hesitant, but then after some discussion, she realizes she doesn’t want Joe to be responsible for her debt, even if they get divorced. She believes she is financially independent enough to take care of that herself. After all, she took on that debt without Joe; she could pay it off without him, as well. The result? They sign a prenup stating that both pre-existing debt and debt accrued during the marriage will be separate debt.
#6: The inheritance prenup
One story comes from an anonymous writer (“Prenup Dude“). Once upon a time, a man got engaged to a woman who came from a wealthy family. He asked for her hand in marriage, and she asked for his John Hancock on a prenup. Both said yes, albeit reluctantly on Prenup Dude’s part. He was a little hesitant about prenups at first but came to realize it was a logical and reasonable thing to do. She and her family had a lot of wealth, and he did not. He had mostly just debt. She had retirement accounts, ESPP accounts, investments, and a future inheritance through a trust from which she received reimbursements. After lots and lots of in-depth discussion about all of the tough topics like money, divorce, death, etc., they came to an agreement on a prenup. They kept their property separate, including any appreciation on separate property.
At the end of the day, “Prenup Dude” knew that it was the right thing to do for many reasons. For one, divorce is expensive. Two, divorce is hard on kids! Three, the prenup actually made them closer because they worked out difficult issues, like child care, early on in their relationship. They lived happily ever after!
There you have it, folks. Some prenup stories are truly outrageous, while others are just run of the mill. And if we’re being honest, most prenups that happen in real life are pretty boring–they cover assets, debt, alimony, and things of that nature. It’s quite rare to see a sex prenup come through an attorney’s desk.
At the end of the day, prenups can be a useful tool for couples to protect their interests and make sure that they are treated fairly in the event of a divorce. By understanding the different types of prenups and the reasons why couples choose to have them, couples can make informed decisions about whether a prenup is right for them.
Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]