Movie fans in Arizona may have been surprised when Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner announced on June 30 that they were planning to divorce, but entertainment industry insiders had been predicting the couple would split for some time. Reports indicate that Affleck and Garner had been living apart for several months prior to the announcement, which has led to speculation about why the couple did not break the news sooner.
Some legal observers feel that the timing of the divorce filing may have been influenced by the terms of a prenuptial agreement between the two Hollywood celebrities. These agreements are growing in popularity, and they sometimes contain clauses that come take effect when a marriage reaches certain milestones. Garner and Affleck made their announcement on the day after their 10th anniversary. According to a survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the popularity of prenuptial agreements has increased significantly in recent years.
While these agreements may provide couples with peace of mind, there are a number of pitfalls that should be avoided when they are drafted. Courts may rule a prenuptial agreement invalid if one of the parties concealed assets during negotiations or if the agreement was rushed into.
Experienced family law attorney will likely be able to ensure that a prenuptial agreement is properly constructed and filed correctly, and they may urge clients to disclose all of their assets during frank and open negotiations. An attorney could also point out that stipulations regarding child support or custody should not be included in a prenuptial agreement, as it is against public policy. The final decision on these matters will be made by a court based upon what is considered to be in the best interests of the child.