Asking for a prenup is a question that a future groom or bride will contemplate when thinking about marriage. Asking for a prenup could lay the seeds of distrust. However, not obtaining a prenup could put a person’s acquired property upon divorce in jeopardy. When is a prenup truly appropriate?
Usually, courts will uphold a prenup unless it is found to be unconscionable, obtained under duress or fraudulent. States differ on what is conscionable, duress and fraud. States such as New Jersey, require full and complete financial disclosure, while others, like California and New York, only require reasonable financial disclosure.
In California, for example, when a couple does not have a prenup and has been married for more than ten years, a court may award a spouse half of the community property in addition to spousal and child support. In other states such as New York, the courts employ equitable division when dividing property. Courts that use equitable division look at different factors such as length of marriage, lifestyle during the marriage, and assets brought into the marriage by each spouse when determining the division of property. A prenup could potentially protect a person’s property and limit the amount of spousal support awarded. Courts will not, however, uphold a prenup stipulating child support, custody and visitation.
In the pending divorce of Kobe and Vanessa Bryant, Vanessa could receive up to half of Kobe’s reported $150 million dollar empire. In addition, Vanessa will be entitled to child support for their two daughters and spousal support. The couple married in 2001, but failed to procure a prenup. Maybe somebody should have told Kobe to get a prenup. On the other hand, it might be for the best that there is no prenup; Vanessa has put up with a lot.