Football star’s prenuptial agreement upheld in divorce

Law Office of Dawn R. Underhill

At one point or another, most Illinois residents sign contracts in their lives. Whether agreeing to terms on a new product they purchased, or signing loans or other documents, contracts are a way of conducting business. Contracts can also be important when it comes to divorce, as a prenuptial agreement can fundamentally alter a couple’s property division.

Prenuptial agreements may be particularly common in a high asset divorce. For example, former football and baseball star Deion Sanders recently battled in court over a prenuptial agreement between he and his wife. The couple, who announced they were splitting up in 2011, have had a prolonged divorce involving contested issues of child custody, child support and property division.

Sanders’ wife argued the prenuptial agreement should not be enforced because it was partially forged. However, an arbitrator in the couple’s divorce case recently decided the agreement was signed by both spouses and was valid. Therefore, the agreement, which sets forth the division of property, will be enforced.

While the argument did not carry the day in the Sanders’ divorce, a common attack on a prenuptial agreement is that the agreement was not properly executed, or signed, by both parties. Like any contract, prenuptial agreements must be signed by the parties in order to be considered valid. Unlike many other contracts, prenuptial agreements must also be in writing in order to be enforced.

Aside from forgery arguments, often times prenuptial agreements are challenged based on the provisions contained in the agreement. For instance, while the agreement can cover financial aspects like property division, it cannot set a party’s child support obligations.

Thus, in the Sanders’ divorce, the child support issue had to be determined separately from the issues contained in the prenuptial agreement.

Ultimately, prenuptial agreements may control property division if they are held to be enforceable. The validity may be addressed in each case, however, under any number of challenges.

Source: NBC DFW, “Prenuptial agreement will stand in Sanders divorce,” Mar. 20, 2013

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Football star’s prenuptial agreement upheld in divorce