An “Arrangement Contract” Can Be Similar to a Restraining Order, Says Top Lawyer
For example, don’t even look at your ex.
Say two celebrities need to “arrange” a relationship, for whatever reason. Fame, money, and status all play a role in why they’re pretending to be madly in love. On E!’s new show, The Arrangement, some couples actually draw up contracts for the length of their relationship and some time after, to avoid disparaging remarks and secure future payments.
Hollywood stars hammer out everything from babies (how many? when?), sex (how often?), public photo ops (let’s make it look real!), if the relationship is an arrangement.
Christopher Melcher, a partner with Los Angeles based law firm Walzer Melcher, said it’s much like a premarital agreement, just without plans to actually get married. “The primary goal there is to protect their finances,” Chris says. “Then they want to put in this other stuff, and this is where it can get very strange.”
Chris says the kinds of things he’s been asked to include in contracts—which he refuses to do and which are legally unenforceable—relate to sex.
“How many times a week or month can sex occur? Is there a penalty for not doing that? It’s not enforceable,” he says. “It’s to use over someone’s head in the relationship. It’s to exert control.”
Exes are another hot button topic. “A lot of people want their partner to have no contact with certain exes, [as in], ‘You will not text, call, email, or see them.’ It’s almost like restraining order.”
An anti-cheating clause is also popular. “I see a lot of guys — and some women — coming in and saying, ‘Hey, if he or she cheats on me they get nothing.’”
Another crazy clause he sees is the stipulation that a spouse (often the wife) maintain her current weight.
“Men want to say, ‘If they’re not in that zone then they’ve lost their rights under the prenup,” Chris says. “Again, not enforceable . . . but women do it for fear of not getting the money they were promised.”
Oftentimes when Chris talks things through with the person seeking the contract, he explains it’s not enforceable. But he says people usually tell him, “I get it, but I want it there anyway.”
“It gets even more unusual. Like it’s more, ‘If we do have kids, I get this much and this religion.’ Again, both unenforceable.”
Chris will tell the couple to fill out a statement of intent as to what they are hoping to get out of the relationship, even though legally it won’t hold up.
“It’s a bad combo of control and power and fear of losing control so they want to have strings attached,” he says. “These are odd relationships. I tell them what they need is an agreement that fosters a healthy relationship.”