The Johnny Depp-Amber Heard lawsuit evokes postnups in the worst way


Nobody wants to join the divorce club.

Believe me, as a divorcee – and a women’s coach during and after the ordeal – I know that. We all take the plunge with dreams of unconditional love, a warm home, and the financial security of being in a relationship. That’s just it marriages don’t last almost half the time, and being realistic about it is crucial. That’s why women — and men for that matter — who haven’t signed a prenup should get one after marriage as life changes.

We don’t have to look far to see how marriages work out. It takes place live on television during the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard libel case, in which Depp is suing his ex-wife Heard on the grounds that she defamed him when she wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post about being a survivor of domestic violence. abuse. Heard has denied the allegations and filed a counter libel suit against Depp for $100 million, claiming he is waging a libel campaign against her.

If a couple decides to reconcile after an affair, one partner can ask the unfaithful person to sign a postnup offering financial or other compensation in the event of a recurrence.

the the couple did not have a prenuptial agreement contract, and Depp claimed during the current trial that when he brought up a postnuptial agreement, which is drafted after a couple’s marriage instead of before, it sparked a violent fight.

“I tried to calm her down and tell her I wasn’t there to fuck her or put her in an awkward position. Those were common, normal things to do,” Depp testified to his discussion with heard of a postnup, but he claimed the confrontation had just escalated. In his testimony, Heard said she was the one who initiated a postnuptial agreement.

Whatever the idea, it’s safe to assume that a postnup wouldn’t have saved Depp and Heard from the acrimony of their post-divorce life or kept them out of the courtroom. But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t have been helpful when negotiating their separation, or that it isn’t helpful for other couples. As the prenup gets more attention, the mention of a postnup in the Depp-Heard lawsuit could draw more attention to a tool that many couples could benefit from.

The main difference between a prenuptial agreement and a postnuptial agreement is simple: the timing. A postnuptial agreement is a legally binding document written after the wedding vows that deals with the terms of a divorce. Much like prenups, postnups can specify who gets what after a death or divorce, as well as the amount of child support. They can also protect who inherits family wealth or protect business assets and income.

Too often, women are insecure when a marriage dissolves.

“None of us had protected ourselves that way,” I thought as I walked home from a recent meeting of a support group for divorced women I lead. Not one.

We all went into our marriages assuming our partner was supportive, we would be fine, and we didn’t need financial protection from the person who claimed to love us the most. We certainly didn’t need a formal “professional” prenup when we were in love! As the years went by and some women decided to stay home with the kids, they thought it was a joint decision with their husbands – regardless of the personal consequences if the team broke up.

“I took care of home and family while he built his career in Manhattan, but now that we’re going our separate ways, what do I do?” asked a woman at the meeting who is in her late 50s and gave up her career when she had children. She was far from alone.

When new issues arise, a couple who don’t see the need for a prenup might find a postnup helpful. An unfortunately common problem is infidelity. If a couple decides to reconcile after an affair, one partner can ask the unfaithful person to sign a postnup offering financial or other compensation in the event of a recurrence.

A woman I know, who asked that her name not be used for privacy reasons, wrote a post-up after her lawyer suggested one following her husband’s cheating. She and her ex signed the deal as they thought about reconciling as she wanted to be protected if it happened again. And he did.

“I’m glad I got it,” she told me. “Divorces are emotional and such a difficult journey, so that’s something that can alleviate some of that.”

She described how the postnup allowed them to legally separate rather than divorce so she could stay on her health insurance. “There was a recognition that I raised the kids and put my career on hold,” she said.

She had two words for people considering post-nup but may be on the fence: “Protect yourself.”

I would like to know.

In a world where women’s reproductive rights could be taken away from them, our family justice system is broken and women still earn 82 cents for every dollar men earn, when a woman sacrifices herself for “the team” (because she usually does it) she absolutely must be compensated for it. This is particularly important because “more than one in three families headed by a single mother lived in poverty in 2019”, according to the National Center for Women’s Rights. If you are a woman and think you will get fair treatment in divorce court that includes some sort of compensation for your selfless contribution to the family unit, think again.

“The family court system is horrible. Whoever has the most money wins, or it depends on how lucky you are as a judge,” said Sandra Radna, a New York divorce attorney. “That doesn’t always seem to be fair.”

That’s where a legal settlement comes in that deals with developments after starry-eyed lovers marry. “As soon as you hand over financial control to your spouse, you give up your independence,” Radna told me. “And once you’re put in that position, it’s hard to reverse it.”

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has seen an increase in the number of couples signing postnuptial agreements these days. Half of divorce lawyers said they write more in the organization survey 2015. The most common issues covered were property division, alimony or spousal maintenance, and retirement accounts.

“One of the reasons to have a postnup is to address something that hadn’t been considered before,” Cary J. Mogerman, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and practicing attorney at Law, told me. St. Louis. “It has to be something in which both parties have an interest. Some make a deal like this to salvage an already troubled marriage where circumstances put pressure on the viability of that partnership.

As for the women in my divorce support and empowerment group? Well, it’s called Strong Savvy Women – and I think a lot of us will be a lot wiser next time around.


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