San Antonio Spurs star puts divorce on hold with prenup

TMZ reports that Tim Duncan, all-star center for the San Antonio Spurs, has moved to postpone divorce proceedings with his wife until after the team's last playoff game. The move appears to reflect a prenuptial agreement that allows for delay of such action during the team's season.

As the International Business Times reports, it appears that Duncan's wife made an initial divorce filing in March. In May, Duncan sought to postpone the action, asking the court "to honor the couple's existing prenuptial agreement."

While the details of the prenuptial agreement are not known, the San Antonio Express-News reports that the counter-petition filed by Duncan seeks the court's confirmation that he "owns property that is separate from the marital estate." The outcome of this request was not published. The International Business Times describes the couple's relationship as beginning in high school. However, "they weren't married until after Duncan had signed his first NBA contract."

Applying prenuptial agreements in divorce

The dissolution of celebrity marriages can center on the divorcing couple's prenuptial agreement. In such high-asset divorces, the value of a document that establishes ground rules for both parties can often be significant. These documents can protect the assets of anyone who enters into such an agreement, not just wealthy individuals.

A prenuptial agreement allows parties to create a clear, understandable and justifiable document designed as a tool to handle assets if and when marital dissolution occurs. Before drafting a prenuptial agreement, it is advisable for both parties to find their own attorney to inform them of their obligations and rights under the agreement, review the wording of the document and to ensure that their agreement will be valid according to state law.

Special requirements in a prenup

While Duncan's apparent prenuptial stipulation that he may suspend divorce proceedings during his season may seem unusual, this instance is a good example of how setting up conditions within a prenuptial agreement can aid both parties when a marriage is dissolved. A prenuptial agreement can also cover details such as establishment of a separate business, allocation of retirement benefits, management of household expenses and bank accounts, arrangements for one party to attend school or circumstances for settling other disagreements with mediation or arbitration.

An experienced divorce attorney can help draft an effective, binding document that will serve one of the parties in a divorce case. A family law attorney can also assist the party to avoid language that may not hold up in court, such as private domestic matters a judge might view as frivolous. A well-constructed prenuptial agreement can offer safety and stability in the case of a divorce.