It can be important for people with high incomes and numerous assets to make use of premarital agreements. The absence of such agreements can lead a person to pay their estranged spouse a huge divorce settlement.
That scenario can happen with high-profile celebrities, for example. After months of rumors, Russell Brand and Katy Perry recently announced they are divorcing after 14 months of marriage.
According to MSNBC, Brand has said the couple did not have any sort of prenuptial agreement. With so much money at stake, that could make him a big beneficiary of the divorce.
MSNBC estimates that Perry made approximately $45 million during their brief marriage, mostly from touring and her various endorsements. She also launched a lucrative perfume line called "Purr." Brand, on the other hand, probably made somewhere in the neighborhood of $6 to $8 million from his movies, the biggest of which was "Arthur," and appearances.
Even though the couple was married in India, it is believed they have a California marriage license. Without a premarital agreement, that would make Brand entitled to half of what Perry made during the marriage. So, theoretically, she might have to pay him many millions of dollars.
Even if Perry does end up making a big payout to Brand, it would not even compare to other celebrities, such as Mel Gibson. Without an agreement in place, he was forced to pay about half of his $850 million fortune to his ex-wife, according to MSNBC.
Source: MSNBC, "Who walks away richer from Perry-Brands split?" Leslie Gornstein, Jan. 4, 2012