Cake, Dress, Prenuptial Agreement: Wedding Must-Haves in 2011 (Part 1) As a Seattle divorce attorney, I am often surprised by the lack of prenuptial agreements among my clients. This is easy to understand; it is certainly not romantic to negotiate the terms of the demise of your marriage before walking down the aisle. With divorce rates nearing 50%, drafting a prenuptial agreement should be on the wedding “to do” list along with choosing a dress and ordering a cake. It is fascinating to read the news and tabloids concerning the use of prenuptial agreements by celebrities. Camille Grammer, who recently established herself on “The Real Housewife’s of Beverly Hills,” did not have a prenuptial agreement with Kelsey Grammer, despite the fact that they married only 13 years ago. Without a prenuptial agreement, she received 50% of his estimated $100 million estate under California law in their recent divorce. Given that Kelsey created a great deal of his wealth prior to his marriage to Camille, it is hard to believe that he did not insist upon a prenuptial agreement. According to the Daily Mail, Kelsey has not learned his lesson; he did not sign a prenuptial agreement prior to his fourth wedding to Kayte Walsh in February, 2011. Many prenuptial agreements have provisions that must be carefully followed during the marriage. In the prenuptial agreement between Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller, reported to be over 60 pages long, Brooke apparently received an “anniversary payment” of $300,000 each year for simply staying married to Charlie. This is a payment that must be made to show that the parties adhered to the negotiated terms of the agreement in practice. According to Gawker, the two signed away rights to the earnings of the other, protecting Charlie’s “Two and a Half Men” earnings. Now that their marriage is over, Charlie must be relieved that at least the terms of his divorce were easily finalized. Specific terms incorporated in the prenuptial agreement may impact its enforceability and need to be carefully considered. As published by Radaronline.com, Sandra Bullock's prenuptial agreement with Jesse James contained a provision that he would receive nothing if he cheated during the marriage. While this is a common provision added by parties, it may not always be
prudent. Given that Jesse James strayed, this worked out for Sandra, however provisions concerning cheating, weight gain, and more outlandish requirements may not be enforceable. In Washington State, those who make the prudent decision to enter into a prenuptial agreement must proceed carefully. While prenuptial agreements may be enforced if substantially fair when executed, or entered into in a procedurally fair manner and followed during the marriage, there are careful steps that should be followed in the drafting and negotiation phase.
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Published on Oct 27, 2011
As a Seattle divorce attorney, I am often surprised by the lack of prenuptial agreements among my clients. This is easy to understand; it i...