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In late June, news broke that Nicole Young, wife of Andre “Dr. Dre” Young, was filing for divorce after 24 years of marriage. Initially, various sources reported there was no prenuptial agreement in place, and many people wondered what that would mean for Dr. Dre’s empire, valued at around $800 million.

As it turns out, there is a prenuptial agreement in place according to Dr. Dre. Per Vanity Fair, Dre “agreed to pay spousal support, but asked that property be divided according to their prenup, which he said does in fact exist.” On August 4, 2020, Nicole Young issued a challenge to that prenup, claiming that Dr. Dre ripped the document up, and that she has not be able to get a hold of a copy of it. She is also claiming that she “was extremely reluctant, resistant and afraid to sign the agreement and felt backed into a corner,” indicating that she may have signed the agreement under duress.

Can a prenuptial agreement be voided?

There are circumstances under which a prenuptial agreement can be invalidated. In New York, one of those circumstances is being forced to sign an agreement under duress. Typically, this means extreme coercion, and duress is not easy to prove. For example, prenups presented to a spouse on the night before the wedding (coupled with a threat to cancel said wedding) have been upheld in New York.

In California, however, where the divorce papers were filed, the law requires that both parties have seven days to review the documentation before signing it. If Nicole Young can prove she had fewer than seven days, she may be able to have the prenuptial agreement voided.

Does ripping up a legal document render it void?

It shouldn’t. If, for example, your house burned down, your marriage would not be invalidated because your copy of the marriage certificate burned up in the fire. As such, a legally signed, witnessed, and notarized legal document like a prenuptial agreement would not be rendered void even if Dr. Dre ripped it up in a display of passion. Both parties would have to go through the formal process of amending the document or eliminating it altogether.

That said, if Mrs. Young is claiming that the photocopy of the document being provided to the court is fraudulent, having that original would be very helpful for Dr. Dre in proving that his copy represents the genuine article.

It is also worth noting that Dr. Dre denies destroying the document.

What happens now?

In this particular case, it appears likely that a judge will grant a motion to hear what Nicole Young has to say, and to determine whether or not there is a valid prenuptial. If the agreement is found valid, then there may be nothing Young can do, and the good doctor can breathe a sigh of relief.

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For more information contact Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein, LLP.

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