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Prenuptial Agreement 1 Week Before Marriage

Prenuptial Agreement 1 Week Before Marriage

  • Client: Ms. Peng
  • Nationality: U.S. Citizen
  • Case Type: Prenuptial Agreement
  • Time: 1 week
  • Challenges:
    1. Rushed Prenuptial agreement a week before the marriage
    2. Client was unhappy with the surprise agreement
    3. Legitimacy concerns of legal counsel since paid by husband-to-be

BACKGROUND

Mr. Looper called Tsang and Associates with an unusual request. He wasn’t seeking representation for himself but for his bride-to-be, Ms. Peng. Mr. Looper’s own lawyer had drafted a prenuptial agreement, but he wanted to ensure she had legal representation as well – and he would pay for it. There were two requirements Mr. Looper needed a law firm to meet: since Ms. Peng was not fluent in English she needed a lawyer who spoke Mandarin Chinese, and the legal firm had to agree to represent Ms. Peng at a reasonable rate set by Mr. Looper. Happily, Tsang and Associates could meet both of those conditions. Ms. Peng, a former fashion model now in her 40s, came to the offices of Tsang and Associates and expressed her concerns with a Mandarin-speaking attorney. As she explained, Mr. Looper had promised there would be no prenuptial agreement, but then he presented this document to her within a week of their marriage. She also had misgivings that if Mr. Looper was paying for her lawyer how could she be confident the legal team was working for her best interests and not those of her husband-to-be? Tsang and Associates assured Ms. Peng the firm took their obligation to protect her rights seriously. With her concerns alleviated, Ms. Peng agreed to be represented by Tsang and Associates.

 

KEYS TO SUCCESS

From the outset, Tsang and Associates could see the pre-nuptial agreement was a one-sided, hardline document meant to protect Mr. Looper’s tremendous wealth solely. A CEO of VX Global, Mr. Looper had assets in the range of $6 million, while Ms. Peng made only $70,000 a year as a make-up artist. The couple had been dating for two years, and even though both parties were in their 40s, this would be his first marriage and her second. Tsang and Associates drafted a counter agreement that pushed back on the uncompromising initial offering with a more reasonable approach that afforded Ms. Peng more protection in case the marriage failed. These protections were based upon a timeline of how long the relationship lasted, particularly in the realm of spousal support and shared ownership in a Laguna Beach condominium..

The final pre-nuptial agreement included an opt-out from community property law and an understanding that no community property would be created by virtue of the marriage. This would supersede state community property laws. However, the couple had recently purchased a condominium in Laguna Beach. While in the earlier agreement Ms. Peng would leave the marriage with nothing, Tsang and Associates created a graduated sharing of assets following a specific timeline. Mr. Looper owned 80% of the condominium and Ms. Peng the remaining 20%. If the couple separated before their 5-year anniversary, Ms. Peng would receive 20% of the net sale proceeds. If the couple separated after their 5-year anniversary, but before their 10-year anniversary date, Ms. Peng’s interest in the remaining net sale proceeds would increase to 35%. If the marriage lasted longer than 10 years, the proceeds would be split 50/50.

Spousal Support would also follow a timeline related to the length of the marriage. In the event of a divorce, support would be paid by the party with the higher income for a period of one half the length of the marriage or until death or remarriage.

Ms. Peng also agreed to a domestic violence rider where she would relinquish the right to the exclusive use and occupancy of the condo, or any residence he may later acquire, under any circumstances even if she obtains a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) against him. Additionally, no court would have the authority to grant Ms. Peng the right to reside in any residence owned by Mr. Looper. If Ms. Peng ever sought a DVRO against Mr. Looper or any of his children, she would be required to disclose the agreement to the court and immediately move out of any residence where Mr. Looper owns a majority interest.

 

OUTCOME

Ms. Peng felt comfortable with the protections negotiated by Tsang and Associates. She signed the prenuptial agreement, and within a few short days, the couple exchanged vows before friends and family along the shore of Laguna Beach. The couple is now enjoying their new life together. Tsang and Associates is proud to have provided the security Ms. Peng needed to move forward with the marriage.

*Name has been changed to protect client identity

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