After months of hearing divorce rumors in the tabloids, Ben Affleck, 42, and Jennifer Garner, 43, announced to the world that they planned to divorce. The announcement was made one day after the couple's 10-year wedding anniversary, which divorce attorneys in California say was more than a coincidence.
In California, a marriage that lasts 10 years or longer is considered a marriage of "long duration," which can have an impact on spousal support. Once a marriage in California has reached the 10-year mark, it means that a judge can decide to award spousal support indefinitely. Proving that in a divorce, timing is everything.
Timing and Prenuptial Agreements
While Garner was likely advised by her divorce attorney to wait until the marriage lasted 10 years before filing for divorce, there is another possibility. Affleck and Garner may have a prenuptial agreement which provided for an additional monetary benefit once they reached their 10-year anniversary, as many prenups are drafted this way.
Prenuptial agreements are popular among the Hollywood elite, but not surprisingly, they are used by regular people too. Essentially, the wealthier the couple, the more likely they are to have a prenup.
In a prenup, it is not uncommon for there to be an agreement which states that upon divorce, the higher-earning spouse will give the lower-earning spouse a certain amount of money for each year of marriage. For example, a spouse may receive anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 per year for every year of marriage.
In the case of Ben and Jen, both spouses came into the marriage with plenty of money and they both earned significantly more than most.
In all cases, when people are drafting a prenuptial agreement, it's important that they learn what their fiancé has and what they don't have. It's also important to educate yourself on what cannot be in a prenup; for example, issues regarding child custody and child support cannot be determined in a prenup – a family court has to decide.
At Cairns Law Offices, we believe that couples should do their due diligence before drafting a prenup. The main reasons why prenups don't hold up in court is because of: 1) hidden assets and 2) a last-minute signing of an agreement.
With all issues pertaining to marriage and divorce, "timing" is always a critical factor that cannot be overlooked.
Remember, it takes time to collect all of the necessary financial documents, so it's best to give yourself six months to complete a prenup.
Looking for a Pennsylvania no fault divorce attorney? Contact Cairns Law Offices today!