The Zipper Clause & Cause For Pause

In virtually every contract there is a “Zipper Clause”. This is the clause that appears at the end of a contract, disclaiming any other agreements or oral modifications to the contract, unless in writing. This is in virtually every phone contract, cable contract, mortgage agreement, etc. Few people ever read them, and frequently even judges don’t.

Yet, there is a far more sinister “Zipper Clause” with far more serious consequences than a simple breach of contract.

The best way of illustrating this type of “Zipper Clause” is through my friend Dick and his breach of this clause.

My friend is Dick. (The names have been changed to protect the innocent- and the guilty too!) Dick moved to a small, mountain community broken hearted, just out of an 6-year relationship terminated by his former girlfriend’s infidelity. Dick was prosperous and operated a successful business, but he was lonely and worked too hard and too many hours to meet a woman of quality.

And yet Dick, as with other victims of infidelity, felt a need to reassure himself that he was still desirable in the eyes of the opposite sex; but he was not anxious to enter into another relationship. Then he meets Jane.

Jane had 3-kids and over a very loud country-western juke box; she heard Dick’s story, fully sympathized with him, and claimed to be seeking the same type of relationship-meaningless sex, not dating. That night Jane swore to Dick he had nothing to worry about, she was a single mother and not anxious to get sick, and she had her tubes tied after her third child was born.

So the “relationship”, if you can call it that, began. But very shortly Jane became pregnant, and there is nothing miraculous about the pregnancy. Jane simply lied about having her tubes tied and was caught beaming at Dick and his new, prosperous business with all of the avarice a single mother can generate.

The story gets better as more facts became known. For Jane’s first two children, she received $400 dollars a month in child support. For Jane’s third child, however, she received $2000 dollars a month in child support. Her fourth child, Dick’s son, will cost Dick $1200 dollars a month. And since child support is not taxable income, this is a single mother who is doing pretty well financially, as a single mother!

Still, the facts only got better. It turned out that Jane is part of a group of women who are professional mothers. These women know the child support laws better than most Family Law Attorneys and are enjoying very comfortable lifestyles, as single mothers.

The women are gym partners as well. Keeping in shape is part of the profession, and these women were quite attractive.

Dick was understandably furious. He had been lied to, he had been defrauded, and he came seeking legal advise.

Then comes the “Zipper” clause.

When it comes time to paying child support, neither the Judge nor the District Attorney nor any other enforcement agency will care that the child was “fraudulently” conceived. The issue is not how or why the child was conceived, but the fact of the child’s conception that gives rise to the child support obligation. The only way to avoid this type of obligation is to invoke the “Zipper” clause; that is, keep the zipper zipped.

Dick could have fought for custody of the child, but the chances of a single man obtaining child custody in a contested hearing are greater than the chances of winning the lottery. And Dick wanted nothing to do with this family.

Dick gave me permission to talk about this hoping that men will understand the dangers involved in breaching the Zipper Clause.

Guys, the only way of keeping the wallet zipper zipped, is to keep the pants zipper zipped. That’s just the way it is.