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Vampire Diaries stars' divorce simplified by prenup

Colorado fans of the TV series "The Vampire Diaries" may have heard by now that two of the show's stars, Paul Wesley and Torrey Devitto, recently decided to end their two-year marriage. In December the couple's divorce was finalized.

According to news reports the divorce of this high-profile couple was simplified by a prenuptial agreement. The agreement provided that the two actors would keep all their earnings separate. This is significant, because Wesley apparently earned a great deal more than Devitto during the marriage. The agreement also provides that each party gets back what they put into their Los Angeles home. Again, Wesley will come out ahead; he will receive $730,593 and Devitto will get only $10,000. Wesley will also get to keep three of the couple's four cars. The two have no children.

In a high asset divorce a prenuptial agreement can save the parties from a lengthy and expensive dispute over asset division and spousal maintenance. In Colorado, prenuptial agreements are governed by a statute, the Colorado Marital Agreements Act. The agreements can cover property division and spousal support, but cannot limit a child's right to receive child support. Colorado courts will generally enforce a prenup as long as there was full disclosure of assets and the parties entered into the agreement voluntarily.

A prenuptial agreement can be challenged in court, however. One ground for doing so is unconscionability - the argument that the agreement is so unfair to one party as to shock the conscience of the court. This argument has a better chance of success if one of the parties had significantly more bargaining power than the other.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "Paul Wesley and Torrey Devitto divorce finalized," Dec. 24, 2013

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