Heartache and hurt feelings are common when relationships end, but when the relationship is between coworkers, hurt feelings may sometimes lead to sexual harassment lawsuits. Being risk adverse, many companies now insist that employees who become romantically involved sign a "love contract." A typical contract states that the relationship is consensual and that neither party is being harassed. In addition, both employees involved promise that if either one starts to feel harassed, they'll follow established company procedures for dealing with a complaint in-house. Love contracts appear to be the latest off-shoot of the classic premarital agreement. Such agreements, also called prenuptial agreements, are commonly used when prospective spouses wish to contractually address property, support and/or other rights created by marriage and later addressed in potentially costly divorce litigation. Traditionally, these agreements were used by older couples contemplating a second marriage. Recently, however, young professionals with substantial property have turned to prenups with an eye toward enhancing both the economic and non-economic benefits of their marriage. The agreements are viewed as a pragmatic, albeit unromantic, way to manage each spouse's expectations. Like many states, Virginia has adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, which requires, among other things, that the agreements be in writing and signed by both parties. Moreover, the agreements must be voluntarily executed and their terms must not be unconscionable. There are a number of important things to both include and avoid in these agreements. If you would like more information about premarital agreements, feel free to drop me a line.
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