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Episode 114 - Challenging Prenuptial Agreements - An analysis of Natalie Maines' (Dixie Chicks Singer) Divorce and more Image

03/04/2019 10:48 am

In this show, we discuss the enforce-ability of a prenuptial agreement in a real case. The case involves the divorce of former Dixie Chick singer Natalie Maines and her husband, Adrian Pasdar. Adrian has challenged their prenuptial agreement and asserted it is unconscionable. We also analyze certain clauses found in the prenuptial agreements of other celebrities and high profile athletes. Tune in to hear us address the following (and more) questions: Will Adrian's argument win in Court? What might the Court consider when looking at his arguments? What is a 'lifestyle' clause? Which clauses might not be enforceable? Can you re-negotiate your prenuptial agreement after your marriage?

Transcript

Leh Meriwether:             Welcome, everyone. I'm Leh Meriwether and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether & Tharp, and you're listening to Meriwether & Tharp Radio on The New Talk 106.7. Here, you'll learn about divorce, family law, tips on how to save your marriage if it's in middle the middle of a crisis, and even from time to time, even tips on how to take your marriage to the next level. If you want to read more about us, you can always check us out online at AtlantaDivorceTeam.com.

Leh Meriwether:             Well, Todd, are we ready to dive into it?

Todd Orston:                   No.

Leh Meriwether:             No? I've got to start asking a different question.

Todd Orston:                   Yes, I'm absolutely ready. Last week, we did do a deep dive on prenuptial agreements, and we realized that we scratched the surface, but there's more we can talk about to really provide people with the information they need to understand Georgia and how prenups can be drafted and enforced in this state. Today, we're going to go about that in an interesting way.

Leh Meriwether:             Yep. We have gathered information from difference sources online about ... well, we think they're the facts. We're not swearing by the facts of this, of what we've discovered, but different celebrities, the kind of prenups that were entered into, the ones that were enforced, the ones that weren't enforced and why they weren't enforced, because in the last show, we talked about how every case became very, very factually dependent. The facts make all the difference, and so we figured, let's pull out some facts from some cases. It's obviously more entertaining to use celebrities, because often the numbers we're talking about are, they're almost difficult to comprehend sometimes. But it's definitely entertaining and informative all the same time.

Leh Meriwether:             I probably should add this, too, some of our shows, I call them evergreen shows, meaning they're always going to be good. You could listen to them five years from now and the information is still going to be good. The shows when we start talking about get very specific on the law, like prenups, that was a good ... the one we did a couple weeks ago, child support, that not so much. So if you're listening to this, and it's-

Todd Orston:                   At some point, it's really not going to be good.

Leh Meriwether:             No, but the point being, the law changes.

Todd Orston:                   Ah, got it.

Leh Meriwether:             The law changes. So if you're listening to this, you're going to get some good information, but double check with a lawyer before you do anything on your own, because the law may have changed since the time we did this show.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah and to your point, the examples we're going to use, we are taking this information from online. We do not represent these people. We don't know and cannot say whether or not the facts are true and correct, but this is the information that is out there.

Leh Meriwether:             That's been reported.

Todd Orston:                   And we are using them, meaning the facts and these different situations, we're using them as educational tools. So obviously if there are any legal representatives for any of these famous people, please don't sue us. And I can't say whether or not any of these stories that we ... I know.

Leh Meriwether:             Well, especially when we say we're not representing out that this is the facts.

Todd Orston:                   Absolutely. So now let's start saying some bad things about some of these famous people.

Leh Meriwether:             So the first one I want to start with, it's current. It's going on right now. It's Natalie Maines, one of the lead singers from the Dixie Chicks, if you all remember who they were, they were really hot in the late '90s, and then she is getting a divorce from her actor husband, Adrian Pasdar. I didn't recognize the name at first, but when I started looking up what he'd been in, then I knew who he was. Like for instance, I think the most recent thing that I've seen him in was he was General Talbot in Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. What's really interesting about this one is he's had a long career. His career actually started I think in 1982. Is that when Top Gun came out?

Todd Orston:                   I'm not sure.

Leh Meriwether:             Or '86, was it?

Todd Orston:                   I like the movie, but ...

Leh Meriwether:             Well, maybe it was '86.

Todd Orston:                   I still have a poster of Tom playing volleyball up in my room, but... Okay. All right, no, I don't.

Leh Meriwether:             Maybe it was '86. But he was Chipper, I think was who it was, in Top Gun. So he's been around.

Todd Orston:                   He's been around the block. So this is one of those situations where when they gpt married, they both had careers. Actually, he might have been, I'm not exactly sure, in terms of when they got married, where-

Leh Meriwether:             2000. They got married in 2000.

Todd Orston:                   Okay. So [crosstalk 00:05:02]. Okay. So I don't know if the Dixie Chicks had made it big, like-

Leh Meriwether:             They had ... Actually, so they had just broken through, I think in 1998 and 1999. They had had, I've looked this up, I don't know this-

Todd Orston:                   Sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Leh Meriwether:             I am not a Dixie Chick fan. Not that I think their music's bad or anything, but-

Todd Orston:                   Of course.

Leh Meriwether:             ... it's ...

Todd Orston:                   You were singing the songs all the way into the studio, so ...

Leh Meriwether:             So '98, '99, they won a lot of country music awards. So they had just gotten hot at this point in time.

Todd Orston:                   All right, so the point is, they both had careers. He was acting, she was in music, and they both knowingly, voluntarily entered into a prenuptial agreement and it should be very, very simple, but-

Leh Meriwether:             I think he was in Heroes, which was a hot show-

Todd Orston:                   Right, he was in Heroes.

Leh Meriwether:             ... around that time, so his career seemed like it was on the rise, as well.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, he's not somebody who was just [inaudible 00:05:59] had one job as an actor but he was back to waiting tables. He was pursuing a growing career and a successful career in acting. But they both entered into a prenup, yet what should have been simple, right, enforce the prenup, one of them doesn't want the prenup to be enforced.

Leh Meriwether:             So now the case. I want to say she filed for divorce. She filed for it in 2017, and now it's 2019, and the case is still going on and the court still has not ruled on the prenuptial because he has challenged it.

Todd Orston:                   That's not here in Georgia.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah, this is in California. He has challenged the prenup under the claim that it is unconscionable, and the basis ... So California apparently has something similar to Georgia, but he says ... Apparently, his claim, as I understand it, is he owes $200,000 and she's worth something like $25 million.

Todd Orston:                   He has high expenses. He has very few assets with which to live. He has borrowed a bunch of money and all the while, she is worth millions.

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   And so he is saying it is unconscionable, and it would be unfair and unreasonable to enforce this agreement. But tell me if I'm wrong, isn't he also focusing more on the alimony side than the property division side?

Leh Meriwether:             He just changed, I think, recently in January, he changed his position to say, "We'll be okay with enforcing the property division, but I want $60,000 a month in spousal and child support."

Todd Orston:                   So do I. If we're throwing requests out there, Natalie, I'll take some of that also. I don't know if it works that way.

Leh Meriwether:             And to oversimplify, I've actually read their prenup, at least the one that's online, that purports to be their prenup. What they did is they said neither of them will get royalties, so he can't get any of the royalties from her songs from Dixie Chicks, or anything she does. He keeps the royalties for all his acting, and no alimony. And then there was another interesting clause in there that said basically, there was nothing joint and that if they bought a house in their joint names and that if she contributed, let's say ... because they have a $12 million dollar house, so let's say she contributed $10 million-

Todd Orston:                   Doesn't everyone?

Leh Meriwether:             No.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, did I ... I threw you off there.

Leh Meriwether:             I was like, what kind of world would this be if everybody had a ... Anyways. A lot of inflation that would be. So if she put $10 million in and he put $2 million in, all he'd get back is $2 million and she'd get her $10 million.

Todd Orston:                   But the bottom line is, it was contemplated.

Leh Meriwether:             It was a contract, they put in place and apparently, she did buy the house and paid for it, I think it's only in her name, so ... and she has a house in, I guess, Hawaii that's her vacation home, and she paid for that, too, so-

Todd Orston:                   Right. But the bottom line is that they entered into a contractual agreement, a prenuptial agreement, that contemplated based on the fact that they both had and were pursuing their careers, it dealt with alimony, it dealt with property division, debt division. It dealt with all of these things, but he's now coming back in and he is saying, it's not fair.

Leh Meriwether:             Oh by the way, it's actually $50 million he's claiming she's worth, not 25. Does that change it?

Todd Orston:                   Not even a little bit to me. If you didn't want to be bound by an agreement, you shouldn't have entered into the agreement.

Leh Meriwether:             So he's claiming he only makes ... only makes $150,000 a year now. Now what's interesting is, the year prior, he made just over $400,000 dollars, so not so shabby.

Todd Orston:                   It's not $50 million, but that's a nice living.

Leh Meriwether:             That's a ... Yeah, $400,000.

Todd Orston:                   Absolutely.

Leh Meriwether:             What ... Sometimes you sit back and go, "Well hang on. What did you do with your money?" Now I know it's very expensive there, so he moved out of their marital home and moved into ... I can't remember where he moved, but apparently-

Todd Orston:                   He was renting a house, I believe, and it's like $7000 a month.

Leh Meriwether:             Seven thousand dollars a month?

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, which in Los Angeles? Absolutely.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah, I think was someplace up in ... It's an apartment, it's not even a house.

Todd Orston:                   Oh, really?

Leh Meriwether:             It's an apartment that's $7000 a month.

Todd Orston:                   I still don't doubt it.

Leh Meriwether:             It was on some beach, so maybe he could've done something a little less expensive. All right, so up next, we're going to continue to dive into what Mr. Pasdar has done and talk about his argument, talk about the money, and see if he has a shot of throwing this prenup out.

Leh Meriwether:             Welcome, everyone. I'm Leh Meriwether and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether & Tharp, and you're listening to Meriwether & Tharp Radio on The New Talk 106.7. If you want to read more about us, you can always check us out online at AtlantaDivorceTeam.com.

Leh Meriwether:             Well, this episode, we are talking about some celebrity prenup battles to sort of take a deeper dive using the examples of other cases to take a deeper dive into the concept of prenuptial agreements and what is enforceable, what's not enforceable. We were actually going over a current one, and I don't know if there's been a judicial ruling since we did our research. There could've been. But as the last time I did the research, there had not been. We were talking about one of the former Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines, and her husband, Adrian Pasdar, filed. They started their divorce in 2017 and it's still ongoing and he is challenging the validity of a prenup he entered into with her in the year 2000.

Leh Meriwether:             Now, I'm going to throw some facts at Judge Todd and see if it changes his opinion on whether Mr. Pasdar should, the court should ignore the prenup and give him some alimony. All right, so he says that-

Todd Orston:                   Go to jail!

Leh Meriwether:             It's not a criminal case.

Todd Orston:                   Oh. All right. That's why I never became a judge. I always get those mixed up.

Leh Meriwether:             Okay, so Pasdar says he spends $20,717 a month in expenses and only has like $2500 in cash and bank accounts. He has borrowed to the tune of $200,000 from families. He's got loans of $68,000 from his family. He owes $130,000 from a line of credit and owes a prior lawyer $52,000. His position is that Natalie is extremely wealthy. She makes $2 million a year. She has a net worth of $50 million with $2.6 million in liquid assets and property valued at $4.5 million. So Pasdar believes that she'll make millions more this year when she goes on tour on her solo album. During the course of the marriage, he's also claiming, Judge Todd, that he gave up furthering his career to stay home with the kids so that she could go on tour with the Dixie Chicks, and that makes this enforcement unconscionable because he gave up part of his career for her.

Todd Orston:                   Nope.

Leh Meriwether:             Still not unconscionable.

Todd Orston:                   Look, when they entered into the agreement, I believe they both knew. He could've knocked it out of the park as an actor and he could've been the one making millions doing acting. I like him as an actor, okay, and I've enjoyed watching him in different shows and movies and what have you, but he could've knocked it out of the park just as quickly as she did, and when they got married, she was on the way up, so it's not like she was playing dive bars. She was winning awards at that time and it was foreseeable that her career was going to keep getting better and she was going to make more money and all of that. So it was foreseeable, and the fact that he's living in probably one of the most expensive cities in the country, paying a ridiculous amount of rent ... Move to Georgia, okay, because rent, seven thousand plus dollars-

Leh Meriwether:             Venice, California, that's where it is, $7000.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, so $7000, hey, move to Georgia. $1500, I will get you a beautiful place, okay, and I'll buy you a picture of the ocean. So I'm sorry that you have incurred debt, I'm sorry that you have mismanaged your finances to the extent that now you find yourself in debt, but that's on you, and to me, if I'm the judge, I'm going to be hard pressed to basically void a contract because you have structured your finances in such a way that you are spending more than you earn.

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   Okay? You knew that a divorce could happen and if it happened, a contract is already in place that would govern how finances are handled, and because you have made choices that have affected your income and affected your assets, I don't think that it's fair that you should be looking to judge, looking to a court, to basically give you an out.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah, and to follow up on that, I think I would agree with you if I were the judge. If she was really ... because my understanding, she paid the $12 million dollar mansion, she was paying for the vacation home, she was paying for ... It sounds like she was paying for most of the expenses, and I don't know, I haven't seen the numbers, but it just sounds like that-

Todd Orston:                   Well, I think he even said that he spent a little bit on the kids and would pay a few things here and there. All right, going back to what you had talked about with the work that he's done, he was on Heroes, he was on Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.-

Leh Meriwether:             Well, not only that, but he was a voice actor in a lot of different Marvel animated shows. What's interesting, actually, one of them he was still making pretty good money from, at least as of last year.

Todd Orston:                   Does he work for ramen noodles? I mean, I don't understand. How does he get paid?

Leh Meriwether:             So he was in ... Oh, I forgot. He was in Supergirl. Last year, he got $11,000 for that. So Marvel Avengers Assemble, which is an animated show that came out, I think in 2013, he got a residual payment of $15,700 last year.

Todd Orston:                   Right, so the bottom line is that he is working, you had said earlier-

Leh Meriwether:             He's getting residual payments from-

Todd Orston:                   ... 400 plus thousand dollars at one point, so to me, again, if I'm the court, I am hard pressed to invalidate a legally binding contract ... You're getting all choked up. I know, you get very emotional when we talk about these things. I'd be hard pressed to void a contract just because he now is waking up X number of years later thinking and saying, "It's unfair. I deserve such that ... and she makes so much and has so much money, that it would be unfair to make me live the life of a mortal human, okay? You know? I want to keep living a life ..." And even the ask of $60,000 per month is a little bit offensive to me, because I'm sitting here going, not only do you want to ... It's not like he's coming to the court going, "I need like five extra thousand dollars. I just need to pay a couple of bills." I'd still think it was wrong, I still wouldn't do it. But he's like, "No, no, no. I still want to live in L.A. and live an L.A. lifestyle. Give me $60,000 a month."

Leh Meriwether:             But you know, here's the thing. He could, I think, knowing the expenses of where he's living, he could make a very good argument that he should get a lot of child support, because clearly, if she's living in a $12 million home and he's living in an apartment-

Todd Orston:                   Absolutely.

Leh Meriwether:             ... there is a disparity as far as lifestyle for the children when they're visiting mom versus dad.

Todd Orston:                   And we've had a show on celebrity child support cases and in states like California, we have seen child support amounts, if you're the primary and ...

Leh Meriwether:             It almost sounds like he is going to be the primary.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, and that I don't know. If he's the primary ... We have seen some California awards in celebrity divorces that are ridiculous, okay? And I'm going to put that soapbox away because I still-

Leh Meriwether:             Let's not start.

Todd Orston:                   ... I get angry.

Leh Meriwether:             We don't have time for that.

Todd Orston:                   I get angry when I hear some of these numbers, but $60,000, $80,000, $100 plus thousand dollars per month, okay? That child better be wearing ... I was going to say fur, but no, I'm anti-fur. But really, really nice things. So anyway, I agree with you. I think maybe child support, that's a different story.

Leh Meriwether:             Well, so during the course of his marriage, he could've done two different things. Number one, if she's paying all the bills, every penny he earned should've been going in a bank account or an investment account.

Todd Orston:                   In contemplation of the possibility that if at some point in time in the future, we get divorced, I have a nest egg, I have some money set aside. He didn't do that.

Leh Meriwether:             Or he could've gone to her and said, "All right, you know what? We've got kids now, I want to support you in growing your career, but I'm going to have to sacrifice as a result. Can we modify our prenup to take that into account? Maybe your net worth is clearly worth more than me right now. Can we have it where if we get a divorce, I get $2 million or something?" So he could've had that conversation with her, said, "If I'm going to give up my career, let's make an adjustment to our prenup."

Todd Orston:                   But he didn't do that.

Leh Meriwether:             And it's a contract that can be changed-

Todd Orston:                   That's right.

Leh Meriwether:             ... if the parties agree, and if you change it, you still have to follow the same formalities of, in that case, it'd be California's formalities. So he had options, he just didn't act on them, and now he's ... He's an adult. He's 52 years old, actually, so ...

Todd Orston:                   And he's had attorneys. This isn't something where this was sprung on him. This was an agreement that he ... and he deals, in the business that he's in, he has attorneys that are writing contracts, he probably has a manager, he probably ... You know what I'm saying?

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   He is probably surrounded-

Leh Meriwether:             He has an agent.

Todd Orston:                   An agent, he is probably surrounded by people who can properly advise him or at least put him in touch with the professionals who can help him with these things. So for him to say that he didn't know what questions to ask would be ridiculous.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah. So yeah, I think he loses.

Todd Orston:                   Guilty! Go to jail!

Leh Meriwether:             He's not going to jail!

Todd Orston:                   Still not ... Okay. All right.

Leh Meriwether:             No, he's ... I don't think he wins that. I think he's going to have to figure out a way to make some money, and shift his ... I think you just ... He's costing himself a fortune by continuing to litigate this issue. I think he's better of focusing on-

Todd Orston:                   Well, that's an argument ... I'm sorry.

Leh Meriwether:             That's her argument.

Todd Orston:                   That's her argument.

Leh Meriwether:             She's asking for attorney's fees for having to argue this.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, because she's saying that this is from 2017, that he's dragging his feet on purpose.

Leh Meriwether:             Yup. All right, so up next, we're going to talk about a few other celebrity cases, and we're going to analyze, did somebody ask someone that they couldn't exceed a certain weight limit during the course of their marriage? We're going to get into that next.

Leh Meriwether:             Welcome, everyone. I'm Leh Meriwether and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether & Tharp, and you're listening to Meriwether & Tharp Radio on The New Talk 106.7. If you want to read more about us, you can always check us out online at AtlantaDivorceTeam.com.

Leh Meriwether:             Well, today we've been talking about ... we're following up on our previous show about prenups, and we had fun here listening to Judge Todd rule against, I think Adrian Pasdar, I think I'm saying his name right, who is an actor who is trying to throw out a prenup from his wife Natalie Maines, a former Dixie Chick singer ... Am I saying that ... Dixie Chicks was the name of the group. So anyways, we broke down some of his arguments as we understood them. Obviously we're not in the legal weeds on that case, but he didn't stand a chance, so. But we're going to continue to-

Todd Orston:                   I almost held him in contempt at one point.

Leh Meriwether:             You're going to award her attorney's fees?

Todd Orston:                   Oh, a lot.

Leh Meriwether:             He can't pay it. He owes $200,000.

Todd Orston:                   All right, good point.

Leh Meriwether:             She might actually not get them because of that.

Todd Orston:                   I don't think she cares. She's worth so much money, I mean-

Leh Meriwether:             She just wants the divorce over.

Todd Orston:                   She wants this over, and out of principle, she may want fees, but I know if she was our client, we'd be looking at her going, "Just let's get this done-

Leh Meriwether:             "Let's get this done."

Todd Orston:                   ... and then you don't want to spend another month or so litigating on the issue of fees."

Leh Meriwether:             All right, so now we're going to talk about what can and cannot go into a postnup, we're going to analyze ... or prenup. Postnup, the analysis is the same, but as we said in the last show, you can discuss things as far as division of your assets and liabilities and alimony, but really ... and there's a few other things we're going to talk about in a minute, but you cannot ... well, it's not enforceable, anything dealing with child support or child custody, because at the time you ... first off, the court has the ultimate ... they're the ultimate decider when it comes to child custody and child support, that's number one, and number two, something-

Todd Orston:                   The standard.

Leh Meriwether:             ... could change for child custody.

Todd Orston:                   Right, the standard is what's in the best interest of a child, and in year one, you may enter into a prenup that says mom gets custody and dad pays $1000 in child support. Well, in year 10 when a divorce is going on, Mom might be addicted to medication or might be just a really not great parent, and Dad might not be making enough to pay that or might be making way, way, way more, and so it wouldn't be reasonable to apply those terms at that point in time.

Leh Meriwether:             Right, so those ... you can't include that. But here's ... You can include certain lifestyle clauses-

Todd Orston:                   And some of them are pretty interesting. I'm not going to lie. We do this for a living, and reading some of the terms that have been included in some of these individuals' prenuptial agreements are eye-opening.

Leh Meriwether:             Yes. One of them, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman. They entered into an agreement where, and this is really interesting, according to the sources online was that he gets $600,000 a year for every year the couple's together, and-

Todd Orston:                   I'm going to talk to my wife after this show, because if I can get those kinds of terms ...

Leh Meriwether:             So Nicole Kidman apparently is worth about $150 million, so that's apparently not very much, but there is a clause in there that says that he doesn't get anything from her if he uses illegal narcotics or drinks in an excessive amount. Now, that is an awfully vague clause.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, that's ... The illegal narcotics, let's flesh that out a little bit. Illegal narcotics, if she can prove that he used something that was illegal.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah, and you can prove that.

Todd Orston:                   That's black/white, right? I mean, that's-

Leh Meriwether:             That's black and white, yup.

Todd Orston:                   ... hey, you used ... really, based on those terms, it could be marijuana, it could be cocaine, it could be anything that is an illegal narcotic, if she can get a blood sample, blood test, prove that he used it, boom, she has the evidence that she needs. Drinking to excess is vague, and what we mean by that is, one person's excess may not be another person's excess. One person might say if you drink one beer, you have drunk too much, while another person might be like, "I'm going on beer 19 and I'm still good."

Leh Meriwether:             I haven't passed out yet.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, right. So it just depends on how the definition excess is-

Leh Meriwether:             And that was a summary. Maybe it was defined.

Todd Orston:                   And my guess is, it probably was.

Leh Meriwether:             You would think it would be.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, but ...

Leh Meriwether:             All right.

Todd Orston:                   But yeah, so that's a behavioral term or a term that is based on behavior that could trigger one thing or another or can create enforceable terms or change enforceable terms based on if you engage in what I'm going to call bad behavior.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah, and I don't think there's anything really wrong with that, per se.

Todd Orston:                   No.

Leh Meriwether:             So let's look at Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake. Apparently, they had a lifestyle clause ... actually, it was a cheating clause. She would get, if she caught Justin Timberlake or someone caught him cheating on her, she would get $500,000 right off the bat. Of course, that's not very much. At the time, he was supposedly worth about $230 million, but ...

Todd Orston:                   That's an expensive date. I mean, I'm not ... that's ... I'm not going to lie.

Leh Meriwether:             Half a million dollars.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah. I understand that he has a whole bunch of money, but that's one expensive night out.

Leh Meriwether:             Yes.

Todd Orston:                   But again, we're talking about behavior. Each party might keep their own assets, whatever they earn, whatever, or there are other terms that say, "You'll get X and I'll get Y." But here, they're injecting behavior into the terms and saying, "Okay, but there's an exception here. I'm going to be faithful to you, you're going to be faithful to me, but if you, the person who has $230 million, is unfaithful? It's like a punishment clause. There's a penalty. You will now pay me half a million dollars." Okay.

Leh Meriwether:             All right, so now here's what I ... This is the funny one. Allegedly, Jessica Simpson and Tony Romo. Now, they didn't get married, but they were talking about getting married and allegedly, he tried to include a clause that said that Jessica Simpson could not be over 135 pounds during their marriage and for every pound she gained over the 135, she would owe Romo $500,000 of her property.

Todd Orston:                   Oh, that's interesting.

Leh Meriwether:             What ... Was there an exception to pregnancy?

Todd Orston:                   I'll be honest with you, I have ... I don't know what to assume. I was going to say I have to assume, but when I hear terms like that, I don't know what to assume, because that's pretty insane.

Leh Meriwether:             I have a hard time believing this story's even true.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, but then again, maybe they are that shallow. Maybe if he was looking for that trophy wife that weighed a certain amount and looked a certain way, maybe he's sitting here going, Fine, but you start putting on the pounds, too many cheeseburgers and you owe me some money."

Leh Meriwether:             Oh man. I can't imagine.

Todd Orston:                   And you know what? The biggest surprise, they didn't get married. Hmm. I can't even imagine they got past the negotiation on those terms. "I'm sorry, hold on one second. If I get fat, I [inaudible 00:30:27] dollars? For every pound? Yeah, okay. Wedding's off."

Leh Meriwether:             And I'm just wondering if he said that in joke or something. But it just ... It's really hard [crosstalk 00:30:38]-

Todd Orston:                   But here's the issue. We're talking about, would that be a permissible term?

Leh Meriwether:             Right, would it be?

Todd Orston:                   We could say it's ridiculous all day long, but arguably, I would say yeah. I mean, if you want to-

Leh Meriwether:             So she has to ... So you walk into court with a scale and say, "All right-

Todd Orston:                   I mean seriously-

Leh Meriwether:             "Hey Miss Simpson, I need you to stand on the scale."

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, right.

Leh Meriwether:             Oh, that would be interesting.

Todd Orston:                   But the bottom line is, these kind of behavior or lifestyle kinds of terms, arguably, I don't see a huge problem. I'd be surprised anybody if she would want to marry him after being told that she can't get fat, but nonetheless, could it be included? Possibly.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah. All right, so Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas also had a clause in their agreement and supposedly that-

Todd Orston:                   Anti-cheating.

Leh Meriwether:             Anti-cheating clause, as well. He had ... How much did he have to pay?

Todd Orston:                   That I'm not sure. I don't remember how much it was, but-

Leh Meriwether:             Supposedly she got $2.8 million dollars for every year they were married. I've seen clauses where the party said, "Look, for the first 10 years or 15 years or 20 years of the marriage," I've seen all of those, "we just keep our ... whatever we came into the marriage, we keep. Whatever we earned, like if we use our marital funds while we're married to buy things, that's still our separate property. But after year 10, year 15, year 20, we tear up the prenup. It's no good anymore." So those to me make a little more sense, but-

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, but I could also see, especially when you're marrying someone who is worth a lot and will probably, their net worth will continue to grow, saying if I'm married for one year, you pay this, two years, pay that.

Leh Meriwether:             That's an alternative I guess, rather than-

Todd Orston:                   We do that all the time to make sure that there's fairness.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah. If you're giving up alimony, I guess that would be fair. Maybe. Oh, my goodness gracious. Okay, so up next, we're going to continue to break down some more celebrity cases, talk about some more prenups, and cases where people are actually paying someone to stay married to them. [inaudible 00:33:00].

Leh Meriwether:             Todd, while we're on a break, let's take a moment to speak just with our podcast listeners.

Todd Orston:                   Great idea, Leh. First, thank you for listening. If you're a client of ours, thank you for taking the time to educate yourself. It really helps us help you.

Leh Meriwether:             And I wanted to thank those that recently took a moment to review our podcast. We really appreciate it. If you feel like you're gaining a value from this show, please take a moment to post a review. The reviews help others find the show, which allows us to help even more people.

Todd Orston:                   And if you're not sure how to post a review, our webmaster has put together a simple explanation on our webpage. You can find it at Mtlawoffice.com/reviewit. That's M as in Mary, T as in Tom, law office dot com slash review it.

Leh Meriwether:             Welcome, everyone. I'm Leh Meriwether and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether & Tharp, and you're listening to Meriwether & Tharp Radio on The New Talk 106.7. If you want to read more about us, you can always check us out online at AtlantaDivorceTeam.com.

Leh Meriwether:             All right, well, we've been getting into prenups, we have been talking about and we've actually been giving examples of celebrities and how they have handled prenups, at least as we understand them, and talking about some pretty odd clauses and whether they would be enforceable. One of the ones I thought was really strange was ... Allegedly, Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller entered into a prenup and he was supposed to make payments to her during the marriage. So just for marrying him, Mueller received $500,000 within 180 days of the wedding ceremony, and then she received an anniversary payment of $300,000 on the first 10 years of the marriage. If he failed to pay, she would start to get interest.

Todd Orston:                   You know, nothing says romance like, "Honey, it's our anniversary." "Oh really? Which one?" "You know, it's the one where you pay me $300,000 and interest will accrue." Yeah, and I will say, for all these that we're saying Oh my God, how ridiculous, marrying Charlie Sheen, I think anyone would deserve hazard pay, so I can't ... I actually can't say that one's unreasonable.

Leh Meriwether:             Oh, it's just the thoughts of making payments during the course of the marriage.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, that takes it to another level because like I said, you want to suck the romance out of a relationship, it's, "Hey, honey. The money hasn't hit my account yet." There's just something inherently wrong with that, but like I said, it is Charlie Sheen.

Todd Orston:                   So how about Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky?

Leh Meriwether:             Oh, this is a funny one.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, that is a funny one. In that one, it was basically they signed a prenup saying Fortensky would receive a million dollars if the marriage lasted five years, and guess when they got divorced?

Leh Meriwether:             Five years and one day?

Todd Orston:                   Yeah basically, that's at least when it was filed. Yeah, surprise, surprise.

Leh Meriwether:             That was her eighth marriage.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah. Well, she's good at it. I don't know if she's good at the marrying or the divorcing, but she's good at something. You have to be good to do it that many times.

Leh Meriwether:             I guess so.

Todd Orston:                   Wait, let's talk about, how about Steven Spielberg? We mentioned this in our last show or hinted at it, but Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving, and they were married and they were divorced I want to say in the '80s, wasn't it?

Leh Meriwether:             They were married in 1985.

Todd Orston:                   They were married in '85, right, and in that case, that's actually ...

Leh Meriwether:             He left her for another actress.

Todd Orston:                   No! That happens in L.A.?

Leh Meriwether:             That was only four years later.

Todd Orston:                   Bite your tongue. I don't believe you. So in that situation, that was, and like I said, we mentioned it in the last show, they had a prenup, but Irving wanted it thrown out, probably because she was married to Steven Spielberg, who makes hit after hit after hit and is worth a gazillion dollars, and basically, the firm that represented her got it thrown out because they explained that the prenup was written on the back of a cocktail napkin and so this goes to the formalities and whether or not all the formalities were met to make it an enforceable agreement, and because it was done so informally, they were able to convince a court not to enforce it.

Leh Meriwether:             That's what we understand. And she actually got like $100 million dollars, half his estate, been married to him for four years.

Todd Orston:                   I'd say that was a good fight to fight, yeah. Well worth the expense and ... Anyway. So yeah, $100 million dollars.

Leh Meriwether:             Wow.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, talk to us about ... How about Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise?

Leh Meriwether:             Ah, so this one, they had an agreement, a prenup, and it was pretty tight. She didn't get a lump sum payout because I guess they weren't married long enough and what was interesting, so she decided not to go for, to fight on throwing up the prenup, I'm reading between the lines here-

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sure.

Leh Meriwether:             ... and so instead, she decided to fight on the issue of child support and she got $400,000 a month from Cruise for her child support until their child turned 18.

Todd Orston:                   Now keep talking, because I'm nauseous right now, and I don't know if I can continue to talk. $400,000 a month?

Leh Meriwether:             Mm-hmm (affirmative). $400,000 a month. That's what's been reported.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, that's reasonable. Well, the kids have solid gold soccer cleats and they eat lobster for breakfast.

Leh Meriwether:             He's supposedly worth $250 million. Now, if this was a case where there was a sunset clause, if they'd been married 11 years, then they would've thrown out the prenup and she would've gotten access to half of it.

Todd Orston:                   And she couldn't hold out for that long.

Leh Meriwether:             No.

Todd Orston:                   All right.

Leh Meriwether:             Well, I mean, she went for the $400,000 a month.

Todd Orston:                   Again, nauseous, but all right.

Leh Meriwether:             All right, so let's talk about Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren? Nordegren ...

Todd Orston:                   Definitely not that last one.

Leh Meriwether:             Nordegren.

Todd Orston:                   Nordegren?

Leh Meriwether:             Nordegren.

Todd Orston:                   All right. So they got married, they had an agreement and basically, he ends up writing, as we read it, a $5 million dollar apology. She filed for divorce under the newly written document and basically, this was an example of ... and wasn't it they had an agreement but then they actually renegotiated terms?

Leh Meriwether:             Right, so they adjusted the prenup, so we call it a postnup-

Todd Orston:                   This is what you were saying in the last show, I believe.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   But basically, that's what could've been done ... Or maybe it was this show.

Leh Meriwether:             That was this show.

Todd Orston:                   It was this show, right. That's what could've happened that basically he could have gone back to the drawing board and agreed to something different. Here, they did. It wasn't enough to keep them together and basically, she walked away with just a little bit of money.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah. Originally, she was only going to ... only, gosh, only going to get $20 million, but-

Todd Orston:                   How do you live on that?

Leh Meriwether:             I don't know. So she got ... because they renegotiated and then she filed for divorce after apparently renegotiating it, she got $110 million.

Todd Orston:                   I would say that was an unfortunate renegotiation for Tiger. I don't think he thought that one through. Or he was thinking ... Anyway. So ...

Leh Meriwether:             Let's not go there.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, let's not go there. Yeah.

Leh Meriwether:             All right, well, here's an interesting one, and we don't know the full details, but allegedly, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan had in their prenup date nights. Apparently, she included terms like, and I don't know if this is true, this is just what I read was that they would need to have one date night per week, at least 100 minutes of alone time out of the apartment and away from his company, so that ... to help their marriage stay solid.

Todd Orston:                   Well and basically, it's a "You're married to me, not your company, and I need to guarantee that I'm actually going to have a husband that is invested in us." And that kind of behavior, you can throw that into an agreement, but as with any contract, you have to be very specific in your terms and in the intent of that language, because you can't be vague. You can't ... If you're vague, it's unenforceable.

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   All right, or at least you run the risk-

Leh Meriwether:             I'm not sure there was any damages if they didn't do that, but if we take the ... sort of end this on a high note and look at that as an example, the prenup process can be an opportunity to actually, I think, if you do it right, to solidify your marriage and make it ... I mean, make it-

Todd Orston:                   Absolutely.

Leh Meriwether:             Because the problem with a prenup is it makes your marriage very contractual, and so as soon as someone's not carrying their weight it's just, you want to get out. Rather than it being like a covenant, a commitment for the other person for your whole life, and that's one of my struggles, but the process of talking about, "Hey, what do you see our life being together like?" Talking about, "Where do you want to go? Where do you want to live? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What about kids? Are we going to have kids?" Having that conversation about your future, because that's what the prenup is, it's a conversation about your future, it can set you up for success.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, I agree. I agree 100% when you're talking about those types of terms like date night, okay, where it's very much about okay, here are the rules by which we are going to live our lives-

Leh Meriwether:             We're going to commit to this.

Todd Orston:                   ... as husband and wife, and then that, it makes the relationship feel somewhat contractual. But the other terms that we're talking about, "Look, your assets are yours, my assets are mine, and we're going to go our separate ways if we need to and this is how we're going to divide everything," I don't think ... I look at it from the point of view of look, you're avoiding the fight, and hopefully that takes some pressure away. You don't have to worry, "Huh, am I going to get taken to the cleaners? Am I going to lose everything I've been working for?" No, you've already contracted it all away, so now you can put that aside and focus on making it the best and healthiest relationship ever.

Leh Meriwether:             You know what we can't put aside?

Todd Orston:                   We're done.

Leh Meriwether:             The end of the show. Wish we could keep talking, but unfortunately, can't. We've run up against our time and we are out of time.

Leh Meriwether:             Hey everyone, thanks so much for listening.

Speaker 3:                        This audio program does not establish an attorney-client relationship with Meriwether & Tharp.

 

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