Some Lessons from Hollywood Celebrities’ Prenups

Prenuptial agreements of popular celebrities who have recently filed for divorce highlight the importance of obtaining advice on, and the drafting of, a prenup. A prenuptial agreement is a contract prospective spouses enter into before marriage, containing terms mutually set by the parties, which take effect upon their marriage. Depending on the contents and language used in its clauses, the prenup can be a powerful document, often dreaded by divorcing couples whose financial circumstances may have changed in the intervening period.

Sunset Provision

Popular actor and comedian Chris Rock filed for divorce, ending his 19-year marriage that produced 2 daughters, both still minors. While the couple had a prenuptial agreement, the actor alleges that it had a sunset provision which caused it to expire. A sunset provision is one inserted into an agreement which fixes a validity period for the terms of that agreement. In a prenup, the sunset provision may state that the contract will cease to have any effect after a specified number of years of marriage.

Confidentiality Clause

High profile couple Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon have also called it quits, and Nick has filed for divorce. Observers are curious about their property settlement noting that Mariah was more successful when the couple tied the knot while Nick generated more income years after getting married. But a confidentiality clause in the couple’s prenuptial agreement is expected to prevent leaks on any settlement as insiders maintain that violating the confidential clause will subject the breaching party to a 6-digit penalty.

In California, family courts generally uphold and enforce the terms of a prenuptial agreement which contain almost any type of provision mutually agreed upon by the parties, including:

  • Waiver of property rights
  • Limits in the amount of spousal support, unless unconscionable
  • Limits of probate rights

The only formal requirements in the creation of a prenup are that it be in writing and signed by both parties. Other requirements for the enforceability of a prenup’s economic conditions are best left to the planning and writing skills of a family law attorney.

In Modesto, California, the law offices of Arata Swingle & Van Egmond has over 60 years of combined experience, helping clients prepare valid and enforceable prenuptial agreements appropriate to their situation and desired outcomes.

We also handle other types of family law cases such as divorce, child custody, child support, domestic partnership agreements, and step-parent adoptions. We welcome your call to us today at (209) 522-2211 to speak to an attorney about your situation.