Famed saxophonist Kenny G (real name Kenneth Bruce Gorelick) has filed for divorce from his wife after 20 years of marriage. Wife Lyndie Helene Benson-Gorelick filed for legal separation back in January, but it was Mr. G who got the ball rolling by filing divorce papers in the L.A. Superior Court on August 9, 2012. The couple, married in 1992, stated "irreconcilable differences" as the reason for the split. The long curly locked crooner also asked the court for joint legal and physical custody of the couple's 14-year-old son, Noah.
The Grammy winner's net worth is valued at approximately $50 million and according to TMZ.com, the documents filed indicate there IS a pre-nup!
What weight will this pre-nup have in court after 20 years of marriage?
In Ontario, pre-nuptial agreements are known as marriage contracts. According to s. 52 of the Family Law Act, two people who are married or intend to get married can enter into a contract in which they agree on their respective rights and obligations under the marriage or on separation. The contract can deal with issues such as:
- ownership in and division of property;
- support obligations;
- the right to direct the education and moral training of their children, but not the right to custody of or access to their children; and
- any other matter in the settlement of their affairs.
While couples can agree on the upbringing of their children, they are not allowed to agree in amarriage contract on who would have custody of and access to any children they may have in the future.
Furthermore, they are not able to agree in their marriage contract on the limiting of either of their rights to the matrimonial home. If there was a clause which was put into the contract limiting the rights to the matrimonial home, it would be unenforceable.
Either party may apply to the court to have the contract set aside for one of the following reasons:
- a party has failed to disclose to the other significant assets or debts that existed at the time the contract was entered into;
- a party did not understand the nature or consequences of the contract; or
- for general reasons such as undue influence, duress, mistake, etc.
In the event that the contract is set aside, this matter would be dealt with by the Court as if there was never a marriage contract in place.
Often when spouses have marriage contracts in place and they attempt to have them set aside, they may argue that specific clauses were not clear enough or they did not understand their consequences when signing the contract. In these situations, the Court must look for an interpretation that is in accordance with the parties' intention at the time the contract was signed. Furthermore, if there is an interpretation that would produce a result that the parties would not have reasonably expected at the time they entered into the contract, then that interpretation should be rejected.
After 20 years of making sweet music it will be interesting to see how smoothly this divorce will play out.