A six-month whirlwind engagement ended in a dream wedding for Guardians of the Galaxy actor Chris Pratt and bride Katherine Schwarzenegger, daughter of Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Fox News covered the June 8, 2019 nuptials, including a ceremony and reception at the San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, CA. The couple announced their engagement in January, just three months after Pratt finalized his divorce from another high-profile celebrity, actress Anna Faris.
Many media outlets and celebrity reports speculated on whether Pratt and Schwarzenegger executed a prenuptial agreement before their big day. Their individual and combined net worth certainly seem to provide sufficient grounds for such a contract. In 2016, Pratt was listed as the 16th highest earner in Hollywood, having made $26 million over the year. He followed up with three blockbuster hits in the years that followed, putting his estimated net worth at around $40 million. Schwarzenegger also brings considerable wealth to the relationship through her own efforts in journalism and as a media contributor. Her net worth may be up to $3 million.
Charles D. Stark, a Sonoma County attorney who focuses on prenuptial agreements, provided multiple reasons why such a contract would be in the best interests for both members of the new couple. “Contrary to popular assumption, a high combined net worth isn’t the only factor to consider. Prenups are a way to hash out divorce issues while you’re still getting along. You can account for almost every detail through a prenuptial agreement, starting with clarifying what assets are community property.”
In a community property state like California, divorce laws stipulate that all assets acquired during the marriage are equally owned by both spouses. In the event of divorce, this community property is divided equally between the parties, regardless of the duration of the marriage. Still, separate versus community property may not be clear-cut. A prenuptial agreement is one way to solidify the distinction.
Mr. Stark described additional prenuptial agreement benefits that would apply to any couple getting married. “Beyond drawing the lines around community property, you can also use a prenup to address how to divide assets if you don’t intend an equal or equitable split. Spouses can also state their intentions regarding alimony. In essence, you take control over your divorce instead of rigid, California divorce laws dictating what happens… or worse, leave questions to be answered by a judge through adversary litigation.”
As a final note, Mr. Stark pointed out one key exception to what spouses can accomplish through a prenuptial agreement: Custody, visitation, and support for minor children. These matters are governed by California’s laws on the child’s best interests.