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Prenuptial agreement could play role in Affleck-Garner divorce

The media gives a lot of attention to celebrity divorces. Reports often detail why the couple split, how child custody matters may play out, and how much spousal support one party might have to pay to the other. Oftentimes, these high-asset divorces deal with significant assets, and, therefore, prenuptial agreements often define the limits of a divorce settlement. One Hollywood power couple shows just how important these documents can be, and how knowing the law can help an individual make decisions that protect his or her best interests.

Many Louisianans have probably heard about the Ben Affleck-Jennifer Garner split. Yet, though the couple has been separated for months, divorce papers were just recently filed. In fact, the official filing comes exactly 10 years and one day after their marriage. Why the exactness? Well, it may be no coincidence. Under California law, marriages that last at least 10 years may be deemed long-term, which could increase any award of spousal support.

Additionally, the couple might have had a prenuptial agreement that contained time-related terms. For example, it could have specified that at the 10 year mark, a divorce would result in a significant increase in alimony or asset transfer. Alternatively, a yearly alimony payout amount may have been layed out, giving good reason to hold off filing divorce papers until that tenth year was completed.

Though Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, and other celebrity couples are often dealing with millions of dollars in assets, a prenuptial agreement can be beneficial to all couples. These important documents can lay out the framework for a settlement in the event that a divorce occurs, which oftentimes leaves couples feel more secure and comfortable moving into their marriage. However, when issues arise, it is wise to consult with a family law attorney to discover what rights and remedies may be available.

Source: Fortune, "What we can learn about prenups from the Ben Affleck - Jenifer Garner divorce," Laura J. Vogel, July 4, 2015

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