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Couples use family law tool to regulate spouse’s online posts

The Internet is an amazing thing. People can communicate instantaneously, mass messages can be sent out simultaneously, almost any service or product can be purchased, answers to almost any question are available with a simple keystroke and much, much more. Of course, there are some drawbacks to this technology too.

One of these downfalls is that once something is posted on the Internet, it is out there forever. Pictures and statements posted on social media websites, like Facebook, are certainly not always flattering. They can be downright embarrassing and even cause problems in a professional career or with law enforcement, and individuals can’t always control what others post about them.

To combat this problem, some couples are including a social media clause in a prenuptial agreement that slaps a monetary or non-monetary penalty on a spouse that posts something they shouldn’t.

A social media clause may not be what every couple wants, but it certainly isn’t the only kind of benefit that a prenuptial agreement provides. In fact, it is probably on the more extreme end of the practical protection that this type of tool provides.

First, we’ll take a step back and explain what a prenuptial agreement is. As the term implies, it is a contract that two parties enter into prior to walking down the aisle. While the tool is often associated with high net worth couples, it is very effective for couples who own stock, a home, a business, are expecting an inheritance, have children from a previous marriage or are even expecting a bump in income. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list either.

When a couple decides to draft a prenuptial agreement, each party must disclose every asset and liability. Then, the couple can draft terms that cover how assets will be handled in the event of a divorce and include clauses, like the social media one above, that help set expectations for during the marriage.

The tricky part of these contracts is that they must be drafted with particularity, and a DIY type of execution could lead to the agreement being found to be invalid by a divorce court. A Kalamazoo attorney can help couples ensure that it is drafted expertly and effectively so that it doesn’t cause any problems in the future.

Source: NY Daily News, “Legally binding social media ‘prenups’ aim to quash embarrassing Facebook posts,” Jenna O’Donnell, June 5, 2014

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