Sex, Lies and Prenups

Why didn’t the wife of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein file for divorce months ago when the news broke? It may be because of their prenuptial agreement. According to Newsweek, their prenup may make the amount of alimony he pays her pegged to the number of years they remain married.

Weinstein in Love

Chapman, the 41-year-old Marchesa fashion owner, met her much-older husband, 65-year old  film maker Harvey Weinstein, after he approached her at a party in 2004.

She was a young fashion model just starting out. He was an old, balding, overweight, movie producer worth millions. Obviously love at first sight.

The couple dated for the next three years, until they got engaged in November 2007, marrying one month later in Connecticut.

The Crying Game

A few months before the 10-year mark of their marriage, things have turned sour. But Chapman did not file for divorce despite the news reports and string of celebrity interviews.

Harvey Weinstein has become the new face of sexual transgressions in the workplace. He was ousted from his own company after The New York Times uncovered a string of settlements paid out by Weinstein for harassment over multiple decades.

A subsequent investigative report by The New Yorker alleged incidents of sexual assault and rape.

A chorus of women have come forward to condemn the producer and share stories of his sexual misconduct, including Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Despite world-wide headlines about the sexual scandal, Weinstein’ wife has steadfastly stuck by him over the next few months, and no one can figure out why.

A little digging by reporters has turned up the Weinstein prenuptial agreement, which may explain his wife’s decision. His wife Chapman, a bridal and couture designer, stands to gain nearly $12 million in spousal support based on the couple’s prenuptial agreement.

Under the agreement, which was signed by Weinstein and Chapman in December 2007, Chapman could be awarded $400,000 annually for every year of marriage after reaching their 10-year mark.

The amount could increase to $1 million annually after 11 years of marriage. The couple had their 10-year anniversary on Friday.

Prenup Fiction

I’ve written about prenuptial agreements before. Many people think prenuptial agreements are for the wealthy. That is nothing more than pulp fiction. Even if you don’t enter a marriage with Weinstein riches, it might not be a bad idea to have a prenup. It certainly seemed to help Harvey Weinstein’s wife, and maybe even protect him too.

Prenuptial agreements, or “prenups,” are contracts entered into before marriage that outline the division of assets in case of divorce or death.

A prenup can resolve things like alimony, ownership of businesses, title of properties, and even each spouse’s financial responsibilities during the marriage.

There are many other concerns that can be addressed in the prenup:

  • Caring for a parent
  • Going back to school
  • Shopping habits
  • Credit card debt;
  • Tax liabilities;
  • Alimony and child support from previous relationships; and
  • Death or disability.

There are times when a prenup is a “must-have”:

  • When one person enters the marriage with significantly more money or assets than the othe
  • When one or both future spouses have family money or inheritances
  • When you want to keep parts of your finances separate: such as separate bank accounts, and a joint account for paying household bills.

One of the points of a prenup, is that you get to decide on the amount of alimony, the terms of alimony or whether you will pay any alimony at all.

Kill Harvey Vol. 3

Though no divorce petition was ever filed, Chapman left Weinstein in October after the multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault became front page news world-wide. No one knows if the alimony provision in the Weinstein prenup is the cause.

In a statement to People magazine released on October 10th, Chapman announced her plans. albeit without a timeline:

“My heart breaks for all the women who have suffered tremendous pain because of these unforgivable actions. I have chosen to leave my husband.”

The Newsweek article is here.