Many Arizonans are familiar with the comedic works of Chris Rock. The 49-year-old comedian, famous for his standup and recent movies, now finds himself in a situation that has no one laughing. Rock has filed for divorce from his wife of almost 19 years. The matter seems to be getting heated, as Rock has accused his wife of keeping the couple’s three children away from him. Rock’s wife disputes this claim, saying that Rock has had open access to the children. Though this matter may develop into a child custody issue, property division may also be a point of contention for the couple.
Rock and his wife both signed a prenuptial agreement prior to their 1996 marriage, but the agreement was subject to a sunset clause. These clauses, often found in prenuptial agreements and other contracts, render the document invalid after a certain period of time. Individuals who plan on marrying may do this to avoid a hasty divorce after marriage, and parties to a marriage may see it as a way to ensure the couple grows together and that their assets truly become one.
However, once a sunset clause comes into play, property that once belonged solely to one individual may be considered marital property, meaning that it becomes subject to equitable division. Equitable does not necessarily mean equal, but it can certainly be a gigantic step away from what was agreed to in a premarital agreement.
Those going through a divorce like Chris Rock’s typically want to ensure they reach a fair resolution. In a property division context, this means discovering all assets and conducting a proper valuation. An experienced divorce attorney can help with this process as well as spur negotiations to ensure that a divorcing party gets a fair share of the marital property.
Source: ABC News, “Chris Rock Divorce May Be Getting Nasty,” Luchina Fisher, Dec. 31, 2014