It has been widely reported that the wedding between L.A. Lakers player Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian was not a real ceremony but rather just another episode of the Kardashian’s reality series “Keeping up with the Kardashians.” And, it seems, that the producers of the reality series footed the bill for the wedding as well.
Sources are reporting that the couple are knee deep in negotiations for their prenuptial agreement and as a result have not yet tied the knot. This is a very smart move by both Kardashian and Odom. In reality, a prenuptial agreement is a serious document which needs to be negotiated by both parties (each with separate counsel) and requires full disclosure of each parties’ assets and liabilities. A prenuptial agreement delineates which assets were obtained prior to the marriage and what (and how) assets will be distributed upon the occurrence of a divorce. These agreements often specify how much will be distributed, what shall be provided for spousal maintenance, and who shall remain in the marital residence. The terms of the agreement often vary depending on the length of the marriage and whether there are children born of the marriage.
In the event that a couple is hasty in executing a prenuptial agreement, especially after only one month of dating as in the Odom and Kardashian case, one individual may later claim that he/she signed under duress. This means that the person did not fully understand the terms and conditions of the agreement or was not in the right mindset at the time of the execution of the agreement. While it is difficult to make a claim when both parties are represented by separate attorneys, it is not something couples should risk.
So what should parties’ do to ensure that their agreement cannot be claimed invalid based on duress? They may wish to consider the following:
Steps to Create a Solid Prenuptial Agreement
- Each party should be given ample time to consider the terms of the agreement;
- The agreement should be signed well in advance of the wedding (i.e. it should not be signed on the eve of the wedding where one would feel pressure to sign);
- Each party should have separate attorneys;
- The agreement shall contain disclosure statements and current net worth statements of each party;
- The agreement shall be executed in front of a notary public;
- Each party shall initial each page of the agreement and shall initial any changes or markings on the agreement;
- The language of the agreement shall include language indicating that all of the terms were fully explained to each party by an attorney and that each had ample time to consider the terms of the agreement.