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New York - Before the wealthiest New Yorkers tie the knot, they have their attorneys pre-package their marriages.
Several top attorneys have shared the craziest clauses they’ve penned for their clients, which include odd items like “no piano playing while the husband is home”, cash bonuses for the partner if either is caught cheating and an agreement to terminate a pregnancy if one should occur.
“They try to include every whim they have, and they’re getting more and more creative,” celebrity matrimonial lawyer Robert Nachshin told The New York Post.
Ann Carrozza, a New York attorney, said that she’s worked with high-end clients that put a weight clause in the contract.
One couple agreed that if the wife’s weight exceeded 75kg, she would give up her $10 000 (about R80 000) allowance. The husband, for his part, agreed to pay the wife $10 000 if his weight ever expanded past 100kg.
“The uber-wealthy do this to keep their wife in skinnyville,” Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker host Patti Stanger told The New York Post.
“I’ve seen marriages dissolve over the skinny clause. New York is getting a hold on this, and the men think this is a safety net to ensure skinny.”
One of her clients, she said, signed an agreement that said she would never wear green and if she did, her husband had the right to destroy the item.
“One man dictates four home-cooked meals a week or the wife loses her shopping allowance,” Stanger said.
Nancy Chemtob, another celebrity divorce lawyer, has seen her fair share of pre-nuptial nightmares.
One husband demanded “wife not allowed to cut her hair”, while another insisted that his wife terminate all pregnancies.
“If the wife were to get pregnant, she’d have to have an abortion,” she said. “He was in his 40s but didn’t want to have more kids.”
But it’s not just the men – women make ridiculous demands too.
“I’ve seen a pre-nup in reverse – where the wife is in the power seat, stipulating that he comes home by a certain time. Some women believe these pre-nups keep their husbands in check,” Stanger said.
One of Chemtob’s clients, she says, demanded to be paid for sex upon receiving her husband-to-be’s demands. “The wife [was] saying this is how she wants something back,” Chemtob explained.
The most common clause appears to be an agreement about a cheating penalty.
People who have been cheated on feel like it’s an added assurance that both parties will take their vows seriously, attorneys say.
“I was cheated on [before], so I added in a clause that said if he cheated on me, I’d get more money,” New York writer Vivienne Lee, 27, told The Post.
If they ever decide to get divorced, Lee would be paid $100 000, but that sum would jump to $140 000 if he was unfaithful.
“Women love it because they get shopping money when the husband cheats,” Stanger said.
Marriage mediator Laurie Israel says that pre-nups place undue stress on a relationship. She calls them “irresponsible” and “dangerous”.
Attorney Lynne Gold-Bikin said: “These kinds of clauses are associated with someone who is insecure or who has had a bad situation in the past.
“I’ve seen extreme clauses that state the wife cannot look at another man or talk to anyone she went to high school or college with. In my opinion these are just outrageous. They undermine a marriage rather than support it.” – Daily Mail