I sent out a press release this past week. I offered to give NFL quarterback Kyle Boller a free pre-nuptial agreement, prior to his marriage to that ill-fated beauty queen Carrie Prejean, and I offered to do his eventual divorce from her for free.
Prejean rose to national fame with her very public condemnation of same-sex marriage in the 2009 Miss USA contest. She said her decision was based on her devout religious beliefs. Then she reached international fame with the fight over publication of her “sex tape.” This wholesome Christian married Boller on Friday, July 2 at The Grand Del Mar hotel in San Diego.
This is a marriage that has a high probability of failure, not because of Ms. Prejean’s bigoted and homophobic statements, nor her inability to live up to the standards she holds others to, but the fact that it is a marriage of a professional athlete and a celebrity seeker. We’ve all seen it thousands of times. These marriages have two people who are going in different directions. And that is a major problem in marriages. My own experience with a long-term relationship that broke up is that we are both wonderful people. But with very different wants and directions.
My ex is a very fair-skinned, red-haired man of Welsh extraction who shuns the heat and sun of the desert. I crave it. I love the ocean and swimming. Him, not so much. Like, not at all. It’s rather like I wanted to go north and he wanted to go east. Neither is right or wrong, but our wants were just not lining up. When I realized that, it was amazing how quickly the heat and anger of a breakup dissipated. It’s what has allowed us to remain, if not become better, friends.
In California, more than 60 percent of first marriages end in divorce, especially of people in their 20s. But what is lesser known is that divorce rates for evangelical Christians, such as Ms. Prejean, still runs at more than 33 percent. This, coupled with a report conducted by Professional Athletes Outreach that states that two years after retirement 78 percent of NFL players are bankrupt, jobless or divorced, it may be have been wise for Mr. Boller to consider a good prenuptial agreement.
Marriages of two high-powered, celebrity seeking individuals have a much higher divorce rate as the stresses and strains of adjusting to married life compete for the needs of a round-the-clock media machine. Let’s face it, his responsible position as quarterback of the Oakland Raiders will put huge pressures and demands on his time and attention. In more traditional marriages the first year or two are used to adjust to each partner in the marriage and lay a foundation. That will be hard to do as he travels the country, and as she pursues her book sales and celebrity.
Professional athletes like Boller need to protect themselves in the likely event of a divorce by having a prenuptial agreement where they can reduce their future legal fees, and limit the spousal support that a woman like Carrie Prejean is likely to seek.
But prenuptial agreements are not limited to the famous and infamous. They are useful for all types of couples, especially those on their second marriage and have some assets they are bringing to the table. By having a clear understanding of the business side of their relationship, an area that most people never think about, they can open up communication and beliefs about marriage which can in fact strengthen the relationship.
They can also highlight the red flags of what is going to be a failing relationship. I represented one man in a divorce and they had a prenuptial in place which made the divorce extremely easy thanks to the fact that every single dollar spent was completely accounted for. At the end of each month they had an accountant prepare an invoice of who owed how much to the other spouse. Literally down to the $10 he owed her for the $20 sweater she bought for their daughter at Disneyland.
The value of a prenuptial is not always in protecting what you have, but in showing the flaws in a relationship by going through the process of preparing for the conversation. Couples that cannot discuss money will likely have a hard time pulling in the same direction when times get tough, as they always do.
Even though Mrs. Boller (I do hope she takes his name — it’s the traditional thing to do you know) wouldn’t allow me to get married, I do hope she and Mr. Boller have a happy relationship. But should it falter, I hope they have a prenuptial in place to limit the emotional and financial pain a divorce brings.
David Pisarra is a family law attorney focusing on father’s rights and men’s Issues in the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 664-9969.