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Prenups and the Garner-Affleck divorce

As many California residents are aware, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are divorcing. One of the interesting things about their breakup is the timing of the filing. Ms. Garner filed the petition 10 years and one day after the date of their marriage.

The timing may be due to several factors, one of which is a California family law provision which considers a marriage to be long term only if it lasts 10 years or more. Hitting the 10-year mark allows the lower-earning spouse to access spousal support for a longer period of time. Another possible factor is if the pair had a prenuptial agreement, as many prenups establish such time limits or provide settlement payments from the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning one based upon the length of the marriage.

With the recent Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage across the country, it is anticipated that prenuptial agreements will become much more commonplace. Many same-sex couples have amassed significant estates and have spent years together.

Prenuptial agreements can be a savvy way for people to protect their own financial interests in the event a marriage doesn't work out. It is important for people to understand what they can include in such an agreement and what they may not, and to complete all of the paperwork in the required manner. Certain mistakes can result in the court disregarding the agreement completely.

The end of a marriage can be a highly emotional and stressful event for all involved. Well-written prenuptial agreements have the potential of taking away some of the conflict. They may not include provisions for such things as child support or child custody, however. Similarly, if one person has hidden assets from the other, the prenuptial agreement may be deemed invalid. People who wish to enter into a prenuptial agreement may want to seek the help of their respective family law attorneys to make certain that it is legally sound.

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