Hollywood couple Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner recently announced their decision to divorce after 10 years of marriage. The couple have three children, all under 10 years old. Jennifer reportedly initiated the petition for divorce in California and bloggers are talking about its timing after observing that it was filed a day after the couple’s 10th year wedding anniversary.
It is believed that the couple did not have a prenuptial agreement. The passage of the 10-year period may be relevant if in fact the couple did not have a prenup.
Effects of Prenuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement is a written agreement between prospective spouses with agreement ordinarily deals with the ownership, management and disposition of properties, spousal support, and other matters that may be covered in an agreement. The prenup or premarital agreement takes effect upon the marriage of the couple and is a significant document for divorcing couples.
Importance of Establishing Duration of Marriage
Without a prenup agreement, the length of time that a couple has stayed married can have a significant impact on financial issues arising during divorce proceedings, particularly alimony or spousal support.
In Florida, a long-term marriage is defined by statute as one that has existed for at least 17 years. For a long term marriage, the court may award permanent alimony depending on the circumstances surrounding the marriage.
In the Affleck couple’s case, California family law considers a more than 10-year old marriage as long term, a significant factor that may be favorable to the spouse seeking alimony.
Contents of Prenuptial Agreement
A premarital agreement may also contain provisions that determine:
- Ownership rights over life insurance policies, including disposition of death benefits
- Personal rights and obligations between the spouses that are not contrary to public policy
While future spouses may generally stipulate anything in their prenup, Florida family law clearly shields child support by providing that “the right of a child to support may not be adversely affected by a premarital agreement.”
In Florida, the Law Firm for Family Law has managed close to 2,000 cases involving a wide range of family law issues such as prenuptial agreements. Our firm’s founder is family law attorney Gary E. Williams, a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Law Mediator and one of 17 Board Certified Experts on Marital and Family Law in Pinellas County.
We also handle other types of family law matters such as paternity, child custody, divorce, parenting plans, post premarital agreements, and domestic violence.
Your call to our offices is welcome today at (727) 531-8737, to arrange to speak to an attorney about your situation.