Loyola University Family Maintenance and Property Distribution Ordinance Law Essay

Pepe and Arifah have been dating for one year. Pepe, 25, a professional soccer player, earns $12 million a year and has about $9 million in assets. Arifah, 21, an Instagram model, earns $25,000 a year and has about $1,000 in money assets and resides in a one-bedroom rental apartment worth $2,000 per month in rent. After a rigorous soccer practice one day, Pepe proposes marriage to Arifah, and professes his unyielding love for her. He hands Arifah an engagement ring valued at $120,000. Arifah immediately tells Pepe she loves him, but that she is unsure about marriage because they have only been dating for a year. Arifah explains that she likes her modeling career and believes that she will become a movie star soon once Hollywood movie executives discover her modeling career one day. Pepe explains that he will take good care of her if she marries him, but advises Arifah that she will have to sign a prenuptial agreement before they marry or else his family will not approve of their marriage. Arifah happily agrees to sign a prenuptial agreement and marry Pepe.

Pepe’s personal attorney prepares a prenuptial agreement with a list of all of Pepe’s assets and sends a signed copy to the attorney for Arifah. The property and support provisions of the agreement provide: “In the event of separation or divorce, Arifah shall be limited to receiving a one-time lump sum payment of $500,000, will not be entitled to any real estate or personal property from the marriage other than property she purchased with the personal assets she had prior to marriage, and that Arifah shall be limited to receiving spousal support of $10,000 a month for three years, regardless of Pepe’s wealth or income.” Arifah signs the agreement and sends it back to Pepe’s attorney, along with a list of all her assets, excluding the engagement ring Pepe gave her, which she wore to their wedding.

Two weeks later, Arifah and Pepe are married in a private ceremony. Fourteen months after getting married, Arifah receives word from one of Pepe’s team mates that Pepe had an affair with a flight attendant one evening during their marriage. Arifah immediately files for divorce. She asks the court to invalidate the prenuptial agreement on grounds that the agreement is unconscionable to her and argues that Pepe’s reported infidelity created a psychological hardship, causing her serious emotional harm, and warrants the agreement being invalidated. Arifah claims she stopped being an Instagram model after her marriage to Pepe and believes she likely would have landed a $20 million movie deal had she continued to model and she is entitled to be compensated for her loss of income. Arifah requests she be awarded $24,000 a month in spousal support for seven years, and ownership of the $1.5 million condo Pepe purchased for the couple to reside in after they married. Pepe argues the prenuptial agreement is valid and that he did not do any wrong.

The jurisdiction in which the couple married and resides is governed by a “Family Maintenance and Property Distribution Ordinance” that reads “If one or both parties to a marriage files for divorce within 18 months of the date of marriage, neither party shall be entitled to spousal support, family maintenance or property distribution from the other spouse, unless a valid prenuptial agreement states otherwise, or one party has been convicted of, or pleads guilty to, a felony offense involving conduct likely to cause death or serious bodily harm to the other spouse or a child. Any engagement ring shall be considered the personal property of the receiving spouse and not subject to return in the event of divorce but may be considered by a court in determining property distribution upon divorce.”

The judge has asked you to identify all the relevant legal issues and rules and to write the case opinion for the court that resolves the matter, using no more than 600 words and a font size of 12. You have 18 hours to complete and submit the report you would provide to the judge.

please be sure to answer the question using these rules:

  • Under Gross v. Gross: “Such agreements, if otherwise found to be valid, are not abrogated as to either party for marital misconduct after marriage, in the absence of an express provision in the agreement to the contrary.”

  • An antenuptial or prenuptial agreement is a contract made between two parties in contemplation of marriage. The agreement provides distribution of property and sustenance alimony in event of divorce, seperation, or death.
    • Three conditions to validate and enforce agreement (3 prong test):
      • if the parties have entered freely without fraud, duress, coercion, or overreaching;
      • if there was full disclosure, or full knowledge and understanding of the nature, value and extent of the prospective spouse’s property; and
      • if the terms do not promote or encourage divorce or profiteering by divorce.
      • “In determining whether alimony is necessary, and in determining the nature, amount, and manner of payment of alimony, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including:
      • “(1) The relative earning abilities of the parties;
        “(2) The ages, and the physical and emotional conditions of the parties;
        “(3) The retirement benefits of the parties;
        “(4) The expectancies and inheritances of the parties;
        “(5) The duration of the marriage;
        “(6) The extent to which it would be inappropriate for a party, because he will be custodian of a minor child of the marriage, to seek employment outside the home;
        “(7) The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage;
        “(8) The relative extent of education of the parties;
        “(9) The relative assets and liabilities of the parties;
        “(10) The property brought to the marriage by either party;
        “(11) The contribution of a spouse as a homemaker.
      • “The parties to an antenuptial agreement are in a fiduciary relationship to one another and, *420 thus, are under a mandatory duty to act in good faith with a high degree of fairness and disclosure of all circumstances which materially bear on the antenuptial agreement”

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