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Property divisions and prenups

Recently, celebrity couple Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck announced their plans to divorce. The announcement came just one day after the couple's 10th wedding anniversary, which has led to speculation that the timing may have had to do with California's 10-year rule when it comes to determining spousal support. However, others are wondering if it might be because of a clause in a prenuptial agreement.

Either way, this highly publicized break-up gives the rest of the country a chance to take another look at how prenups work and what to keep in mind. The number of couples choosing to use prenups has been rising in the past few years. This is especially true for those with high-value assets, including celebrities.

One common clause in prenups is that the divorce settlement is based on how long the couple is married. For example, the lower-earning spouse may get a certain dollar amount for each year of the marriage. This can make it more beneficial to file for divorce right after an anniversary. However, prenups are not always as cut and dried as they may appear.

In situations where it is found that one or both parties were not completely honest about their assets, it could mean that the entire prenup is rendered invalid. This can be true even if the deception was not intentional. Those with high-value assets may have complicated finances that are handled through an accountant and may honestly not be fully aware of all of their assets or their value. If you are considering a prenup or have a prenup and are considering divorce, it's important to get legal advice from a family law attorney who knows what to look for in a valid prenup.

Source: Fortune, "What we can learn about prenups from the Ben Affleck-Jennifer Garner divorce," Laura J. Vogel, July 04, 2015

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