Category Archives:Prenuptial agreement

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Facebook CEO's Well-Timed Marriage

Just one day after his company made its public trading debut, Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg married Priscilla Chan.
Mark Zuckerberg's original Facebook profile
Mark Zuckerberg’s original Facebook profile (Photo credit: niallkennedy)

The Facebook billionaire topped off a remarkable week with a surprise wedding Saturday to his college sweetheart Priscilla Chan. Zuckerberg, 28,  met Chan, 27, during his years as an undergraduate student at Harvard. The wedding announcement was classic Facebook: Zuckerberg simply updated his profile to: “Married Priscilla Chan.” The news had almost 850,000 “likes” Sunday evening.

Though there’s no indication that the Zuckerberg wedding had anything to do with the IPO, its timing couldn’t have been better. At least if the pair ever decide to divorce.
Zuckerberg was worth $17.5 billion as of March 2012 but that figure could now be closer to $19 billion thanks to his move to take Facebook public on May 19, according to Forbes

Prenuptial agreements generally waive the right to make claims based on California community property laws, which state that property created after marriage is community property and should be split evenly after divorce.
If there was no prenuptial agreement, Zuckerberg benefited by waiting until after the initial public offering. If the marriage had taken place before the IPO, his shares could have been considered marital assets. Since it took place afterward, he can argue his Facebook holdings were separate property acquired before marriage, and they were not marital property. He probably couldn’t make the same argument, however, about gains made after the marriage. Earnings from work are generally considered community property.
Whether or not these legal repercussions had any impact on the timing of the Zuckerberg wedding is unknown. Even if they had no impact, Zuckerburg may have just lucked out.
Some of the benefits of a prenuptial agreement include:
  • documenting each spouse’s separate property to protect it as separate property,
  • supporting your estate plan and avoiding court involvement to decide property distribution,
  • distinguishing between what is marital and what is community property,
  • documenting and detailing any special arrangements between you and your spouse,
  • avoiding extended court proceedings, which result in the time of expensive divorce attorneys,
  • reducing conflicts during a divorce,
  • establishing procedures and rules for issues that may arise in the future, and
  • assigning debt, such as credit cards, school loans, and mortgages, to the appropriate spouse to avoid both spouses sharing debt liability.

Many people fear that discussing such matters, or even bringing up the word prenuptial agreement, will cause turmoil in their relationship. Often times, just the opposite is true. One of the main irreconcilable differences leading to divorce is finances. Talking to your spouse ahead of time regarding finances, property, and marital asset management can avoid a lot of these disagreements. You both can get on the same page in the beginning so that the issue does not pop up and cause an argument later. Furthermore, discussing these issues nurtures healthy communication. Even if you and your spouse decide a prenuptial agreement is not for you, discussing it may be a good idea.

Whether to enter into a prenuptial agreement or not is a very personal decision. Each individual and couple is unique. Therefore, you should base your decision on your own unique circumstances.

Legal updates by the Orange and Riverside County Law Firm of Don Ho, LLP.

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Heidi Klum and Seal Call it Quits

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 28:  Model Heidi Klum ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

A celebrity couple known for making public displays of attention announced that they were separating.  Supermodel and reality television host Heidi Klum and musical artist Seal, confirmed that they have separated after almost seven years of marriage. 

Klum and Seal were one of Hollywood’s most high-profile couples, and appeared to have the a solid relationship.  The couple married in 2005 and have raised 4 children together; three of their own and Klum’s daughter from a previous relationship.  They renewed their marriage vows every year on their anniversary, threw lavish parties together and talked about one another with respect and love.

However, anonymous sources have hinted that in recent months the couple had been fighting more.  In addition, as with most Hollywood couples, their busy schedules that had them at different ends of the globe.  “While we have enjoyed seven very loving, loyal and happy years of marriage, after much soul searching we have decided to separate,” they said in a joint statement. “We have had the deepest respect for one another throughout our relationship and continue to love each other very much, but we have grown apart.”

While there has been no reports with details, if the California couple decides to move forward with divorce it is anticipated that there will be a lot of assets at stake and issues relating to child custody.  Ultimately, the details of a divorce will depend on whether or not the couple has executed a prenuptial agreement.  It there is no prenup, all income that was earned by either party during the marriage will be split 50-50 upon divorce because California is a community property state.
However, a prenup is likely given the statures of Klum and Seal.  Such prenup would conceivably keep all individual business ventures as separate income and could set the terms for spousal support.  Should any spousal support be granted, it is probable that Klum will be paying Seal as she earns more income.  While Seal has sold 20 million albums worldwide, Klum is the second-highest paid model in the world and reportedly made $20 million last year alone.
Of course, it is certainly possible that the couple will settle their divorce confidentially out of court, which means that the terms of any divorce settlement may never be released to the public.
The Orange County and Riverside Law firm of Don Ho, LLP can assist you regarding criminal and employment legal matters.
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Watch Out Kardashian: Humphries Wants an Annulment

Last month, we discussed how reality television star Kim Kardashian had filed for divorce from her husband, professional basketball player Kris Humphries, just seventy-two days after their nuptials.  Now, Humphries has filed for legal separation and annulment, and asking a California family court judge to invalidate the couple’s prenuptial agreement.
Kris HumphriesImage by Keith Allison via Flickr

According to documents filed on December 1 in Los Angeles Superior Court, Humphries filed for both a legal separation from Kardashian and a nullification of their entire union.  What it really means is that Humphries wants an annulment, but if he is unable to get one, he wants a legal separation.  According to the filed documents, Humphries requested an annulment on the grounds of fraud, essentially alleging that Kardashian tricked him into marrying her for the television wedding and subsequent payday.  It has been reported that Humphries is seeking annulment instead of divorce for religious reasons.  Nevertheless, his attempt to invalidate the prenuptial agreement makes it more likely that his finances, not his religion, may be behind this move.

Annulments are only granted in a handful of rare situations because they completely invalidate the marriage altogether.  Unlike a divorce action which is maintained to terminate a valid marriage on grounds arising after the marriage, a nullity proceeding is maintained on the theory that, for reasons existing at the time of the marriage, no valid marriage ever occurred.  In an annulment, the court determines that a marriage or domestic partnership is not legally valid because: 
  • of force, fraud, or physical or mental incapacity; 
  • one of the spouses was legally too young to marry or enter a domestic partnership; or 
  • one of the spouses was already married or in a domestic partnership.
More information about the grounds for nullity, as well as time limits for filing for an annulment, are available from the California Family Code, sections 2210 et seq.
Additionally, Humphries is attempting to have the couple’s prenuptial agreement invalidated.  According to reports, he wants the prenup voided in order to avoid being bound by the document’s confidentiality clause so he can speak publicly about the marriage and the divorce.  It is Humphries’ hope that if the marriage is invalidated, then the prenup will no longer control what happens in the wake of the couple’s split.

Legal updates brought to you by Orange County attorneys at Don Ho, LLP.

All factual information provided by Los Angeles Times
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Keep the Prenup Handy: Kim Kardashian Goes From Altar to Divorce Court in Only Seventy-Two Days

On Monday, it was reported that reality TV star Kim Kardashian filed for divorce in a California court from her NBA-playing husband Kris Humphries of only seventy-two days.

Kim Kardashian at the Seventh Annual Hollywood...Image via Wikipedia

It was estimated that over 4 million fans watched the couple marry in a ceremony that is estimated to have cost approximately $10 million.  Kardashian issued a statement explaining that she reached the decision to end the marriage after careful thought and consideration.  Humphries also spoke to reporters, saying that he was devastated to learn of the development and planned to try and save the marriage.

It is unlikely that divorce will make a significant impact on Kardashian’s assets, as the couple signed a prenuptial agreement before they wed.  Prenuptial agreements in California are governed by California’s Uniform Premarital Agreement Act.  They are especially common in states like California that follow the community property system of asset division.  Without a prenup, almost all assets acquired by either party during a marriage are considered to be community property that is divided evenly upon divorce.
Additionally, since it is likely that both parties appear to be fully able to support themselves, there will be no need for spousal support. When it comes to spousal support, also known as alimony, the amount of the award is usually determined by the judge using state guidelines that factor in the incomes of each party. Generally, one spouse’s need is measured against the other spouse’s ability to pay.  When considering spousal support, also known as alimony, judges look at factors such as the length of the marriage, the presence of minor children, the earning capacity of both parties and the age of health of both parties.
Legal updates brought to you by Orange County attorney Don Ho, LLP.
All factual information provided by USA Today
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