Prenuptial agreements are always a wise idea for any engaged couple. When one or both spouses has considerable assets going into a marriage, it’s particularly crucial. There’s no guarantee that a spouse won’t seek spousal support regardless of what the prenup says, however. That’s why it’s essential that the prenup be drafted correctly and agreed to by both parties with full knowledge of what they are signing.
Take the case of “The Big Bang Theory” star Kaley Cuoco and her husband, tennis pro Ryan Sweeting. The two recently announced their impending divorce after less than two years of marriage. Cuoco, one of the highest-paid women on television, is worth considerably more than Sweeting, who has been sidelined by injuries. The difference in their net worth is about $42 million.
The couple signed a prenup prior to their wedding. Sweeting, however, is reportedly still seeking spousal support from his wife. He is also asking for her to pay his legal fees for the divorce, which she initiated.
Can a spouse seek support and assets that go against the terms of a prenup? While we don’t know the details of this couples agreement, there are instances when a prenup can be deemed invalid. In many cases, this happens if it wasn’t handled appropriately. This could be the case, for example, if one party was:
— Coerced into signing the agreement
— Not given adequate time to read and sign it
— Not fully aware of the other person’s assets
— Unable to consult with his/her own attorney
In some cases, a spouse may still be awarded support regardless of the prenup terms if it is deemed to be “unconscionable.” This could happen if one spouse has undergone a dramatic financial downturn that would make denying that person support extremely unfair. Even if this is the case, the amount of time for which the wealthier spouse would be required to help support the other would generally depend upon how long the marriage lasted.
One doesn’t need to have the considerable assets of a sitcom star to get a prenup that is legally sound. An experienced North Dakota family law attorney can work to ensure that an agreement will hold up in court. However, if you are contemplating divorce, or you believe that your spouse is, it’s wise to review your prenup with your attorney and prepare a strategy for any possible challenges.
Source: Forbes, “Can Ryan Sweeting Score Spousal Support From Kaley Cuoco? The Truth About Prenups,” Danielle and Andy Mayoras, Oct. 21, 2015