Boston music fans may be interested to hear that legendary artist, composer and performer Stevie Wonder is looking to finalize a separation from his wife of 11 years, citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce comes a few years after the couple separated in late 2009. Now the couple must address such issues as property division and custody of their two young sons. This is not new territory for Wonder, who went through a divorce once before.
Wonder has reportedly agreed to pay child support and alimony, and has petitioned the court for joint physical and legal custody of the couple's children. In addition to child custody and payment of alimony, the court will have to determine the division of property. While a prenuptial agreement would likely control the property division if it were in place, there has been no indication that the couple entered into such an agreement when they married in 2001.
Because prenuptial agreements can greatly alter the distribution of property between two divorcing spouses, Massachusetts law requires that a number of criteria be satisfied before a court will find an agreement valid. For example, to ensure that each party's interests are represented adequately in the negotiations, each spouse must have an independent attorney. If the proper criteria are not met, then the prenuptial agreement could be declared void, eliminating the bargained-for protections outlined in the document.
Prenuptial agreements can offer many benefits to couples that sign them. They may be particularly useful for couples who have children from a prior marriage. A well-drafted prenuptial agreement can help protect the inheritance rights of those children.
Source: The Boston Globe, "Stevie Wonder files for divorce after 11 years," Aug. 4, 2012.
Source: People, "Stevie Wonder Files for Divorce," Stephen M. Silverman, Aug. 3, 2012.