Newark, NJ -Sherri Shepherd responded to Lamar Sally’s request for separation by filing her own petition for divorce in a New Jersey court. But the couple’s split is shaping up to be contentious one as disputes over their prenuptial agreement arise.
When Sally filed for separation—he has to wait three months to file for divorce in order to meet California’s residency requirements—he asked to have sole custody of their unborn child which they are having through a surrogate. Sally requested that Shepherd only be granted visitation and specifically stated in his petition that she not interfere with the child’s July birth.
On top of the child custody requests, Sally asked that the couple’s prenuptial agreement be disregarded on the basis of fraud, according to TMZ.
But when Shepherd filed her divorce documents, citing “irreconcilable differences,” she made no mention of taking custody of their unborn child. She did however say the prenuptial which says Sally gets only $60,000 if the couple remained married between two and five years—they’ve been married for three—should be honored.
So can Sally actually challenge the prenuptial and be successful?
Pre-nuptials are binding contracts and are typically upheld by courts as long as both parties signed it willingly, were honest about their assets and there were no unconscionable provisions in the agreement. Anyone can challenge a prenuptial, but they must prove that either they signed the agreement under duress, one of the parties were dishonest about their assets, reason for entering the marriage or the agreement is unreasonable.
When Kim Kardashian and Chris Humphries were enmeshed in their nasty divorce, which lasted nearly four times as long as their marriage, Humphries attempted to challenge their prenuptial because he said their marriage was a sham. Humphries accused Kim Kardashian of entering into the marriage to make money and further her career. He wasn’t successful in getting an annulment or challenging the prenuptial agreement, but the couple finally agreed to a cash settlement
In spite of the fact that a marriage is supposed to be about honest and openness, one spouse may hide assets before a marriage or after the couple has been married. If a couple agrees to a prenuptial they are required to disclose all of their assets, if they fail to do so, the other spouse may contest the prenuptial on the grounds of fraud.
Another way to challenge a prenuptial is show that one spouse signed the agreement under duress or because some of the provisions are unconscionable, meaning provisions in the agreement are unrealistic and unreasonable.
Sally’s filing for separation did not state exactly why he is challenging the prenuptial but his chances of success hinge on how effectively his divorce attorney can argue his case and prove he entered into the contract under false pretenses.
Prenuptials are always a good idea for couples since these agreements allow them to determine child custody and asset division before the emotion of divorce takes over. An experienced divorce attorney can craft a sound prenuptial agreement that will have solid legal standing and prevent a spouse from getting entangled in a drawn-out divorce.