By Rebecca Wade
You’ve probably heard that Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin got married… which is big news on its own. But another detail arose that surprised fans and created a large buzz in the media. The celebrity couple sealed the deal without getting a prenuptial agreement.
This shocked many Bieber fans, some of whom fear that without a prenup, the singer’s assets could be in jeopardy if he and Baldwin end up getting a divorce. However, family law attorney Rebecca Wade says she thinks the fact that Bieber and Baldwin don’t have a prenup isn’t as big a deal as people are making it out to be. Mainly because there are many misconceptions about separate property versus marital property.
What is “Separate Property?”
“Whether you’re in California, Virginia or New York, separate property is considered everything you earned before the marriage,” says Wade. “So however many millions Justin Bieber is worth, if he and Hailey Baldwin get divorced tomorrow, she’s only entitled to a portion of what he earned during the marriage. For example, let’s say Bieber comes into the marriage with $100 million and the couple gets divorced after one year. If he’s made $10 million in that year, she’s only looking at having a portion of that $10 million, not the $100 million he came into the marriage with.”
Is an Inheritance Considered Separate Property?
Wade explains, “When people come to my office seeking prenups, often their primary concern is about protecting their premarital assets. Those are already protected by operation of law. People are also often worried about protecting an inheritance. Under Virginia law, inheritance is considered separate property so you don’t necessarily need a prenup to make sure the inheritance is protected.”
Do Prenuptial Agreements Affect Child Custody, Child Support, and Spousal Support?
It’s also important to note that prenups are not binding on issues of child custody and child support because the courts are required to look at the best interests of the child when entering orders for custody and child support.
However, Wade says prenups can help minimize the risk of spousal support. “If you want to limit your potential future obligation to pay spousal support, a prenup can do that. Or maybe you have a property, like a house, that you entered the marriage with but have not fully paid off. You may be concerned about your spouse getting an interest in the house during the marriage. Those kinds of things you can certainly limit with a prenup.” Additionally, if your earning potential is high, and you want to protect those assets, a prenup could help you.
One of the difficulties with prenups can be simply starting the conversation and telling your significant other that you want to get a prenup. But Wade explains that it doesn’t have to be that way and that a prenup can help protect both parties.
About the Author
Rebecca Wade is a partner at Wade Grimes Friedman Meinken & Leischner PLLC, practicing in all areas of family law and criminal law having experience with protective orders, divorce, child custody and visitation, child protective services investigations, juvenile delinquency, and criminal charges.
Wade has been named a 2023 Best Lawyer in America by U.S. News & World Report, a 2023 Super Lawyer in Northern Virginia and Washington D.C., and a 2020-2021 Top Lawyer by Northern Virginia Magazine.
Disclaimer: Rebecca Wade is an attorney practicing law exclusively in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
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