Ten years and one day after her wedding, Hollywood actress Jennifer Garner announced that her and husband Ben Affleck were getting a divorce. If the timing of the announcement seemed a little too precise, that’s probably because it was.
According to insiders, the split had been in the works for a long time now, but Garner waited until California’s new divorce law was passed to initiate the divorce. Why? Because under state law, marriages are considered “long-term” after 10 years. That classification will likely affect the length and the amount of spousal support the lesser-earning spouse will receive.
Of course, there is also the possibility that their prenuptial agreement provided an extra monetary benefit that kicked in after their 10-year anniversary.
Figures on prenuptial agreements are difficult to find, but a recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers showed a 63% increase in prenups in recent years. The wealthier the clients are, the more likely they are to have a prenuptial agreement.
In some cases, prenups can contain an agreement that upon divorce, the higher-earning spouse will provide the lesser-earning spouse with a settlement for each year of marriage. Some divorce lawyers claim to have seen cases where the lesser-earning spouse will receive as much as $100,000 per year.
One thing that Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck’s divorce can teach us is that it’s important to have everything in order before tying the knot. Know what your partner has – or doesn’t have. Never hide anything, because if you do, the agreement may not hold up in court.
No matter whether you’re a small business owner, multimillionaire, or part of the Hollywood elite, it’s important to create a solid prenuptial agreement, and ensure those documents are filed and notarized properly. One slight mistake could wind up getting your agreement thrown out of court.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC is a New Jersey law firm specializing in family law and estates. Attorney Brad Micklin was recently named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. To set up a consultation, call 973-562-0100.