Are you considering a prenuptial agreement? Some things can be learned by studying Kevin Costner’s prenuptial agreement, and your attorney can help you with yours. Our Chicago prenuptial agreement attorney at Gordon & Perlut, LLC, can help if you have questions.
This year, Kevin Costner and his wife, Christine Baumgartner, divorced after being married for 19 years. Baumgartner filed for divorce from the famous actor, citing irreconcilable differences. The divorce was filed in May 2023, but court documents reveal that the couple split the month before. In his response to the divorce filing, he mentioned that he and his wife had signed a prenuptial agreement.
Media reports say that the prenuptial agreement states that Baumgartner had one month to leave the $145 million house the actor owns after she filed for divorce. The prenup also states how the parties will split their debts and assets.
She filed on May 1, 2023, and she still lives at the property as of this writing. This situation raises many important questions about a prenup’s validity and enforceability.
When written correctly, prenuptial agreements are usually enforceable, with certain exceptions. A divorce court may invalidate a prenuptial agreement if it is fraudulent, unconscionable, or was signed under duress. It also could be declared unenforceable if the prenup did not meet the locality’s legal requirements.
In the Costner case, Baumgartner not abiding by the prenup and refusing to move raises interesting questions. Her legal team could argue that the prenuptial agreement is not enforceable because she signed it under duress or was coerced. Or, they could argue that the prenup is unconscionable and is too favorable to the actor.
According to media reports, Costner is worth approximately $400 million, and his wife wants a share of his assets. But Costner says that he has complied with the agreement terms, including paying her $200,000 in the first two years of the union. As required, he also paid her $1 million when the divorce petition was filed.
Costner also has agreed to pay Baumgartner $200,000 more for a down payment on a new home. His attorneys argue that his estranged wife is making ‘unreasonable financial demands’ as a condition to vacate the marital home.
If one party disregards specific prenup terms, the other party can seek legal remedies via the court system. The court will review whether the prenuptial agreement is valid and assess the claims by both sides. In this situation, Costner’s attorneys will probably show evidence that the prenuptial agreement is fair and valid. It will be up to the court to decide if her refusal to comply is appropriate.
The Costner case shows how important it is to be represented by an experienced, skilled prenuptial agreement attorney. When enough is at stake, it is common for the other party to mount a challenge to the premarital agreement.
When thinking about a premarital agreement, you should only attempt to draft one with the help of an attorney. In fact, both parties should have their own attorneys representing their interests. Our Chicago prenuptial agreement attorney at Gordon & Perlut, LLC can draft, review, or revise your prenup, so call (312) 360-0250 today.