The most recent controversy in Hollywood is the split between multi platinum recording artist, Katy Perry, and movie actor, Russell Brand, who announced the end of their marriage on December 30, 2011 after only 14 months. Rumor has it that the couple did NOT have a prenuptial agreement. Katy Perry made a record breaking $45 Million during the marriage. Russell Brand only made about $7 Million. In California, which is a community property state, assets are split evenly among the couple if there is no pre-nup, meaning Perry stands to lose over $20 million not including the two homes the ex-couple purchased together during the marriage.
A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people about to get married that spells out how assets will be distributed in the event of divorce or death. Premarital agreements or "pre-nups" establish the property and financial rights of each spouse.
At one time, a premarital agreement that was not made in contemplation that the parties would remain married until death was considered to be against public policy in California and other jurisdictions, but the CA Supreme Court concluded in 1976 that the validity of a premarital agreement "does not turn on whether the parties contemplated a lifelong marriage" and in 1985, the California Legislature adopted most of the provisions of the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act. Pursuant to Family Code section 1615, a premarital agreement will be enforced unless the party resisting enforcement of the agreement can demonstrate either (1) that he or she did not enter into the contract voluntarily, or (2) that the contract was unconscionable when entered into and that he or she did not have actual or constructive knowledge of the assets and obligations of the other party and did not voluntarily waive knowledge of such assets and obligations.
The most important factor of a solid premarital agreement is honesty. Both parties must fully and completely disclose of their assets. If it turns out either person was hiding something, a judge can throw out the entire contract. The document should be signed as early before the nuptials as possible to avoid the appearance of coercion, another key reason why some agreements are rendered null and void by the court. A valid pre-nup should also be "fair" and will not leave one of the parties destitute.
You should consider getting a pre-nup if you fall into any of the following categories:
• You have assets such as a home, timeshare, stock or retirement funds
• Own all or part of a private or family business
• You may be receiving an inheritance
• You have children and/or grandchildren from a previous marriage
• You or your spouse is much wealthier than the other
• One of you will be supporting the other through college
• You have loved ones who need to be taken care of, such as elderly parents
• You have or are pursuing a degree or license in a potentially lucrative profession