Postnuptial Agreements are Hip. Just ask Heidi Klum
On Oct. 14, renowned model Heidi Klum and singer-songwriter Seal finalized their divorce. The couple originally filed for divorce in April 2012, citing irreconcilable differences.
News of the couples split came as a surprise to many, as they always seemed happy in public and even renewed their wedding vows every year around the time of their anniversary. What also came as a shock to some, but not Encinitas divorce lawyer John Griffith, was that the couple had signed a postnuptial agreement.
A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenuptial agreement, except it is entered following the marriage, instead of before.
“The popularity of postnuptial agreements is on the rise,” says Griffith. “Many couples find prenuptial agreements taboo because it forces them to discuss the ‘what happens if we divorce’ factors before they have even tied the knot. Postnuptial agreements eliminate some of those uncomfortable feelings while offering the same level of protection.”
Sure postnuptial agreements are sometimes used to settle trivial disagreements between married couples such as who washes the dishes, or which parent’s house is visited on Christmas, but they can also be used to settle serious matters like who gets what in the case of a high-asset divorce like Heidi’s and Seal’s.
Considering Heidi’s estimated net worth of $70 million is substantially more than Seal’s estimated (and not-too-shabby) $15 million, it would make sense that their postnuptial agreement govern the allocation of their earnings, but that is just speculation.
But why did their divorce take so long? Shouldn’t their postnuptial agreement have guaranteed a swift settlement, you ask?
“Divorce is complicated,” says Griffith. “Signed agreements eliminate some negotiation, but not all. And just because Heidi’s and Seal’s settlement was long, it doesn’t mean it was ugly. I have found that most couples with children would rather take their time and reach a civil agreement than rush the process. With neither Heidi nor Seal in dire need of spousal support, they had the luxury of time to settle through mediation and make sure both parties were satisfied in the end.”
Heidi and Seal were spotted several times greeting each other with a friendly kiss on the cheek amidst their settlement, which alluded to the civility of the process. According to this Hollywood Life article, Heidi, who took Seal’s last name of Samuel when they wed, was able to regain her maiden name and a “confidential agreement” was met regarding the custody of their children.
All seemed to end well for Heidi and Seal thanks to their postnuptial agreement, but keep in mind that prenuptial and postnuptial agreements aren’t only for the wealthy. Call today to talk to an experienced divorce lawyer who can help walk you through the appropriate steps of protecting your assets.