It is the latest trend in love: ABC reports that “social media prenups” are on the rise. Social-media-savvy couples are setting expectations early when it comes to sharing information on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and similar platforms, so that neither partner shares unflattering or harmful information about the other. If they do, they pay the price.
Violating a social media prenuptial agreement will cost you
Social media prenuptial agreements are new and are usually included as a clause in a married couple’s so-called “love contract,” or lifestyle clause, which lays out behavioral and physical requirements for things like how much partners can weigh and how often the couple should have sex.
Social media clauses typically do not specify websites but rather set general rules on what aspects of the couple’s private life should not be shared online. Embarrassing swimsuit shots or photos of someone drunk and behaving inappropriately are examples of things rendered off-limits by these agreements.
And it is not just talk. A violation of the social media clause can set someone back as much as $50,000 per infraction. While the consequences of such posts may mostly be psychological, monetary penalty can be especially high if the offending material has harmed a partner’s professional reputation.
Couples benefit at the beginning and the end
Couples who choose to add a social media clause to their prenuptial agreement benefit in two ways. First, contractual discussions get partners talking about where they can and cannot compromise in their relationship, helping them set clear boundaries from the start. Second, it gives them power in the event of a nasty split.
During a painful breakup, an angry partner may decide to post unflattering photos, or worse, to get back at their former partner through cyber bullying. However, with divorce attorneys scouring clients’ social media profiles to find information to use during divorce proceedings, revenge posting carries heavy consequences.
A violation of the social media clause could not only result in the stipulated financial penalty for the perpetrator, but also in a less favorable divorce settlement. Ideally, having the clause would prevent such a violation from ever occurring.
So you want a social media prenup
If you are interested in a social media clause in your prenuptial agreement, discuss the issue with your partner first. Agree on what is acceptable to share online and try to imagine scenarios that could result in harm or embarrassment.
Next, contact a lawyer in your state to handle your prenuptial agreement. If you are already married, you can discuss the possibility of getting a postnuptial agreement. Your attorney will help you determine the scope and detail of the agreement and word it so it is enforceable by law, as many love contracts do not hold up in court.