As experienced Virginia divorce attorneys, we can tell you that high conflict and contested divorces can have an unfortunate way of delivering surprises at the least opportune times. To that point, let’s take a look at a recent split between former talk show star Ricki Lake and her ex-husband, Christian Evans. This high profile divorce is interesting because of Lake’s complicated family background and also because of the legal tactics pursued by Evans. Per the online tabloid, www.radaronline.com, Evans is “going after triple what he was granted in the existing prenuptial agreement.”
Lake had been married to Rob Sussman, an artist, but they divorced in 2003. They have two young children, 10-year-old Owen and 15-year-old Milo. Lake then got remarried to Evans in 2012. At that time Lake, was already a widely known and wealthy celebrity, so she and Evans understandably signed a prenuptial agreement. Per the terms of that agreement, the 43-year-old Evans will only get $125,000 in the divorce, but he now wants as much as $500,000 because of “all the emotional damage [Lake] caused him since the split.”
In 2012, Lake published a book, Never Say Never: Finding a Love That Fits. A friend of Evans says “Ricki broke the prenuptial agreement the moment that she released her book.”
Obviously, without actually analyzing the prenuptial agreement in detail, we can’t evaluate these arguments one way or another. However, many people mistakenly belief that prenuptial agreements are set in stone – i.e. that they will hold no matter what. However, the degree to which they can be enforced depends intimately on many factors, such as:
- Did both parties understand what they signed, when they signed it?
- Was the original agreement fair and clear?
- Did either spouse say or do anything that could void the agreement?
On a bigger picture note… divorce court proceedings often lead to surprises (and surprising emotional reactions) that no one could have anticipated. Lake, for instance, probably did not anticipate that Evan would suddenly decide to challenge the terms of the prenuptial agreement.
So what can you do to prepare for the unexpected?
The most effective strategy is to work with experienced, qualified Virginia divorce lawyers who understand how to adapt strategies based on emergent information. The lawyers at DiPietro Law Group, PLLC would be happy to discuss your case in detail. Please call us for a consultation at (888) 530-4374.