Last week, the world learned about the Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner divorce and how they announced their split, one day after their 10-year wedding anniversary. If you read the tabloids, it looked like the announcement was coming for a while, and it seems clear that the timing of the divorce, initiated by Garner, was more than a coincidence.
Under California's divorce law, Family Code Section 4336(a), a marriage of ten years is considered a marriage of long duration, meaning it can have an impact on the amount and length of spousal support.
With Ben and Jen, there is another possibility: their prenuptial agreement may have offered a monetary benefit that kicks in after the couple's ten-year anniversary.
Prenuptial Agreements Have Risen in Recent Years
According to a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, there has been a 63% increase in prenuptial agreements in recent years. Many attorneys expect that the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriages at the end of June will lead to a spike in prenuptial agreements among gay and lesbian couples.
Essentially, the wealthier the client, the more likely they are to get a prenup.
A prenup can include a provision that upon divorce, the lower-earning spouse receives a certain amount of money for each year of marriage. It's not uncommon for a spouse to receive from $5,000 a year to $100,000 for each year married.
In any case, it's important that you learn what your partner has and doesn't have. Issues regarding child support and child custody cannot be addressed in a prenuptial agreement, the family court decides.
Do you due diligence, and don't hide anything. The top reasons why prenups don't hold up in court is because of 1) hidden assets, and 2) a last minute signing of an agreement. It's best to give yourselves six months to complete an iron-clad prenup.
Contact Claery & Hammond, LLP for a free case evaluation!