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  • Caitlin Hamilton

Analyzing Prenuptial Agreements Through Ex-Celebrity Couples

By: Caitlin Hamilton

When celebrity couples, or couples in general, part ways it can be a shock to the system. However, the biggest shock of all can come in the form of a shock to one’s bank account. Prenuptial agreements, a principle of contract law, can help protect one’s finances when a relationship falters. Most recently, Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello are enforcing the 100 million dollar prenup the couple signed over seven years ago, as the Columbian model surpasses Manganiello’s net worth by a landslide.

As prenuptial agreements have become increasingly popular, all fifty states now recognize the agreement. However, all prenups must be in writing and signed by both parties to take effect. All assets must be completely disclosed and California, for example, requires the agreement to be signed at least seven days before a wedding, as that is when the prenup becomes legally binding. That said, prenups can and have been overturned in the past. For example, if one party has greater bargaining power, and asks for a prenup after a wedding is planned, the other party may feel coerced, and if coercion is effectively proven in court, can overturn a contract.

Another way to invalidate a contract, prenups included, is if the agreement is ‘unconscionable,’ or grossly unreasonable. However, this method is extremely difficult to enforce, as prenups by nature typically aren’t fair. Thus, in unique instances where the dependent party is set to suffer undue financial hardship and the other party would flourish, would a court likely regard a prenup as unconscionable. In the case of Dr. Dre and his ex-wife, Nicole Young, the handling of their prenup contributed to an 18-month divorce battle.

Young and sources close to the couple alleged that Dr. Dre had ‘coerced’ Young to sign the prenuptial agreement shortly before the wedding. Signing in front of a judge, the judge acting as a witness could have easily negated that pitfall. Since the exact date wasn’t included when the prenup was initially signed, there was skepticism that it met the seven-day reviewing period requirement. Furthermore, Young alleged that Dr. Dre had ripped up the prenup during their marriage and its copies as a sign of affection. However, to be reversed, a signature is generally required by both parties to revoke consent. However, since Young was unable to get her hands on the prenuptial agreement, that factor bolded well for Young. While other disputes complicated the divorce such as allegations of abuse, the entanglements regarding the prenup didn’t make matters any easier. Dr. Dre ended up settling with Young for $100 million in 2021 which put their 18-month battle to rest.

Prenups are not only for the rich and famous, but they can surely act as an example of how to protect one’s assets or a demonstration of what not to do when one is involved.



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