Singer Adele had enough faith her marriage to Simon Konecki would work that she did not enter into a prenuptial agreement prior to the marriage. Unfortunately, the couple’s divorce is now pending – with state laws in California potentially entitling Konecki to as much as 50% of Adele’s earnings during their marriage. Adele could lose millions of dollars of her personal earnings to her soon-to-be-ex husband because of her lack of prenup.
If you’re unsure whether a prenuptial agreement is fitting for your situation, contact our office to speak with an experienced San Francisco prenuptial agreement attorney to discuss the details of your case.
California Property Division Laws
In California, the two types of divorce cases are contested and uncontested. In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree to the split and to the terms of the divorce. This includes a property division plan that the couple can create on their own. In a contested divorce, however, one or both parties do not agree to its proposed terms. A contested divorce case will typically have to go to court for resolution. In these cases, a judge will review the facts of the case and divide marital properties and assets according to state laws.
California is a community property divorce state. This means any income, assets, or property either spouse acquires during the course of a marriage or domestic partnership become part of community property, or the shared property of both spouses. Property and assets may include homes, vehicles, bank accounts, stocks, businesses, furniture, or jewelry. Community property will not include, however, one spouse’s individual gifts or inheritance. All community property is eligible for division during a divorce case in California.
The law in California explicitly states that during a divorce trial, the courts will evenly divide all community property down the middle, in a 50/50 split. Both spouses will receive half of the total amount of community property, regardless of how much one spouse actually earned over the other during the marriage. However, the courts will divide debts equitably (fairly) according to which spouse owes the debts, rather than splitting debts 50/50.
The State of Adele’s Divorce Case
If Adele and Simon choose to file their divorce in California, where the couple owns significant property, the state’s 50/50 divorce laws will apply to the case unless the couple can work out different terms on their own. This may be the case, as Adele has already given over $600,000-worth of property to Simon. Speculation says this gift indicates an amicable split and property division terms the couple can both agree upon. Adele has said her lack of prenup was in part because money is not an important part of her life.
If, however, the couple cannot work out the terms of their divorce amicably, it will go in front of a judge. A divorce trial in California could lead to a judge awarding Simon Konecki up to 50% of the community property the couple acquired during the marriage. With an estimated net worth around $182 million in U.S. dollars, Konecki could make out with millions in a contested divorce case. This is only if they file for divorce in California, and only if they cannot mediate different terms on their own, without court intervention.
Some lawyers who have studied the case say Adele may be able to prove that her talent is effectively genius. This would entitle Simon to significantly less of the couple’s community property in a contested divorce case. The specifics of the case will remain unknown to all except Adele, Simon, and their respective attorneys – if the case remains out of the courts and does not become part of public record, that is. Had Adele and Simon signed a prenuptial agreement prior to their 2011 marriage, Adele’s earnings from her singing career would be safe in the event of a divorce. Since that is not the case, Adele must now fight to preserve her fortune.