Last month, Don McLean of 'American Pie' fame reached a settlement with his wife of 30 years, Patrisha McLean. McLean's wife filed for divorce back in March after an incident which led to his arrest and subsequent domestic violence charges. In her divorce filing, Patrisha McLean cited "adultery, cruel and abusive treatment, and irreconcilable differences."
McLean pleaded not guilty to the charges, but he did rather interestingly opt to set aside a premarital agreement the couple had in place years ago. Instead, he agreed to a $10 million settlement. The details of the settlement are not publicly known, and one could only speculate as to the reasons McLean chose to set aside his prenuptial agreement.
Prenuptial agreements, of course, can be an important means of protecting property in the event of divorce, but like any contract, they may be waived if both parties consent to it. Parties should be careful to agree to a waiver of prenuptial agreement obligations. Even in cases where doing so seems to make sense from a financial perspective, it is always important to consult with an experienced attorney to ensure that one has a complete understanding of the agreement and that there will be no surprises if the agreement is set aside.
The concept of waiver is an interesting aspect of prenuptial agreements, since prenuptial agreements often include provisions in which a spouse agrees to waive certain rights ordinarily available under state law. In our next post, we'll continue looking at this issue and the need for advocacy during prenuptial agreement negotiations.