Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Lessons about spousal support and more from celebrity divorces

While most Massachusetts people would likely not want their private affairs to be made public during divorce proceedings, there is a lot to be learned from the divorces of celebrities where even the tiniest details are often published. When comparing two cases that played out in opposite ways, it might be clear that prenuptial agreements play important roles during divorce proceedings. Battles over spousal support, child custody, property division and other contentious matters could be avoided if these issues were all addressed in prenuptial agreements.

After 15 months of marriage, actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard got divorced without ever signing a prenuptial agreement. After many highly publicized court proceedings, Heard won the battle for spousal support, and she received a settlement of $7 million. The fact that she reportedly donated that money to a charity may indicate that her ongoing fight for support was more out of revenge than need.

On the other hand, when actor Kelly Cuoco and tennis star Ryan Sweeting got divorced, all was planned in a prenuptial agreement that they signed about 30 days before they got married. Cuoco's assets -- which were substantially more than that of Sweeting -- were protected against claims by him, and matters such as spousal support had already been addressed in the signed agreement. Johnny Depp's assets were entirely unprotected because of the lack of a prenup. A prenuptial agreement can establish the boundaries necessary for a divorce even before the marriage, and it may prevent loads of emotional and financial pain in the event of a divorce.

Before getting married in Massachusetts, it may be beneficial for each party to consult with a seasoned family law attorney whose guidance based on experience can be invaluable. A lawyer can explain the advantages of a prenuptial agreement and also help with drafting a document that can address issues relative to the couple's circumstances. Along with spousal support, property division and more, the agreement can specify how the incomes of each party will be handled, and it can even provide confidentiality and privacy in the event of a divorce.

Source: wealth.kiplinger.com, "A Tale of Two Celebrity Marriages and One Prenuptial Agreement", John M. Goralka, Accessed on Sept. 20, 2016

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