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Divorcing celebrity spouses battle over validity of prenup

When couples who have a prenuptial agreement get divorced, one or the other spouse may seek to have the prenup declared invalid. In some cases, spouses claim to have been pressured or tricked into signing it or not having enough time to read it. Some seek to have it thrown out because of inaccurate or incomplete information or because they didn't have their own attorney.

One celebrity divorce introduces us to a unique reason: an "amazing palate." Of course, there's more to it than that, but this latest twist has captured the media's attention.

Actress Stephanie March is perhaps best known for her long-running role as an assistant district attorney on "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit." She and her husband, Food Network chef and restaurateur Bobby Flay, are in the midst of a contentious divorce. March is seeking to have the couple's prenup thrown out because she contends that she was crucial to Flay's success. Among other things, she says that he relied on her to taste-test his dishes before they were served in his restaurants.

In addition to her "amazing palate" (Flay's words, according to March), the actress says that she helped with the design, music and general ambiance of his restaurants. Whether March had any role in hiring Flay's assistant, with whom she has accused him of having an affair, is not known. That affair, which Flay's attorney has denied, has been reported to be what broke up the marriage.

There may be other issues raised in court about the legitimacy of the prenup, which March's attorney says was "signed at their wedding," and has "profound issues." The agreement gives the actress $5,000 per month as well as a $1 million buyout for the couple's home in New York in exchange for Flay keeping the residence.

While celebrity divorces may make for entertaining reading, the issues are very real to those experiencing them and often not so very different from those that couples in North Dakota, Minnesota and throughout the country experience. Many people hesitate to even ask for or sign a prenup, let alone to amend it as situations change in the marriage. However, working to ensure that your prenup reflects what you want and need if the marriage ends can save a lot of additional headaches later on.

Source: International Business Times, "Stephanie March Claims Bobby Flay Used Her As The Taste-Tester For All His Dishes In Divorce Proceedings," Tyler McCarthy, May. 21, 2015

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
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