Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Janet Jackson's prenup could make her a lot of money

When one or both spouses has a significant number of assets, they may decide to sign a pre-nuptial agreement to protect themselves in case the marriage goes sour. A prenup can protect your assets and also protect you from taking on the debt of the other party. If the couple decides to divorce, a prenuptial agreement can save them from getting dragged into a long court battle.

Pop superstar Janet Jackson and her soon-to-be ex, businessman Wissam Al Mana, recently announced their divorce. The couple was reportedly married in January 2012, but they may have been married as early as December 2011.

According to family members, the prenup granted Jackson to $100 million if the couple stayed married for five years or more. Additionally, this amount would double if they had a child. The couple's first child was born three months ago.

While $200 million seems like a lot of money to most people, it may not be to Al Mana, who is reportedly worth close to $1 billion. Jackson is reportedly worth approximately $150 million.

In cases where there are a large number of assets, it is important that the prenuptial agreement clearly states the financial obligations of each party. Generally, Utah courts will equitably divide the marital property between the spouses. However, if the couple has a prenuptial agreement in place, then courts will generally follow the conditions of the agreement unless it is found to be invalid. A court may find a prenuptial agreement invalid if you include illegal activity, child custody decisions, child support obligations, or personal non-financial matters.

Prenuptial agreements can be extremely beneficial and allow a couple to focus on their marriage. Therefore, those who want to draw up an agreement, as well as those getting ready to embark on a divorce where a prenuptial agreement is in place, should consider speaking with an experienced family law professional.

Source: Page Six, "Janet Jackson could receive $200M in divorce," Stacy Brown and David K. Li, April 10, 2017

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