Bride and groom racing around a track carrying a document

I’m not normally one to follow celebrity gossip, but a recent news article did capture my attention as it is related to family law. Television host Jeannie Mai has asked the judge presiding over her divorce from rapper Jeezy not to enforce their prenup. Her reasoning? She did not have enough time for a prenuptial agreement the couple signed.

This is a facially legitimate challenge. As we explain in our article on Attacking & Enforcing Prenuptial Agreements, it is okay for a prenup to be completely one-sided in favor of one spouse (except on spousal maintenance). Indeed, protecting a richer spouse’s wealth at death or divorce is the purpose of a prenup, so being unfair from a substantive perspective is a feature, not a bug. The only real way to attack a prenup is to prove that the process itself was flawed.

Specifically, Mai is claiming that the couple only began negotiating their prenuptial agreement five days before their 2021 wedding. And that abbreviated timeframe effectively tainted the whole process, both not giving her sufficient time to consider the prenup or financial disclosures, along with a challenge to the adequacy of the disclosures themselves.

For his part, Jeezy filed for divorce in Fulton County, Georgia back in September 2023, and in December filed a motion to enforce the terms of the prenup.

How Much Is Enough Time for a Prenuptial Agreement?

There are two sides to every story, and upon seeing Mai’s claim of just having 5 days to negotiate the prenup, my initial thought was skepticism – that was pretty much lightning speed which could call into question the prenup. So surely there was some error, and emails or other correspondence would surface to prove that she had enough time for a prenuptial agreement, that they didn’t start negotiating the prenup the same week as the wedding.

Rapper Jeezy singing

But no – in his December motion, Jeezy acknowledged that the couple signed the prenup just one day before their wedding. But he argued that this was sufficient time and the prenup nonetheless met the standards set forth under Georgia law. In particular, both Jeezy and Mai had their own independent lawyers to assist them with the prenup.

Note that while Colorado has adopted the Uniform Premarital & Marital Agreements Act (UPMAA) to determine the validity of prenuptial agreements, Georgia has adopted neither that act, nor its predecessor, the Uniform Premarital Agreements Act (the UPAA, which was in effect in Colorado until 2014), but instead has its own unique state laws.

As I’m not a Georgia attorney, the subject of this blog post would be to analyze whether Jeezy & Mai had sufficient time for their prenup for it to be valid under something I am familiar with – Colorado law.

Prenup Five Days Before Wedding

The first red flag is that the prenup was signed the day before the wedding, and negotiations only started five days before the wedding. On its face, that does not seem enough time for a prenuptial agreement – I don’t know about that couple, but if they are like most of us, the week of their wedding they have a million other things going through their mind and would struggle to focus on an important document like a prenup.

Under the UPAA which was formerly in effect in Colorado, and remains in effect in half of the country, a prenup signed the day before the wedding is still potentially enforceable. There are cases in Colorado from the UPAA era holding that a prenup signed the day of the wedding was valid (Ross, although that case was unique in that the signed version was substantially the same as the prenup the couple had been negotiating through counsel), as well as prenups signed the day before the wedding (Newman) and two days before the wedding (Lopata).

Colorado Prenup Standard – “Reasonable Time” to Obtain Counsel

But Colorado no longer has that relaxed time standard. Our statute now requires that the party against whom enforcement is sought had “access to independent legal representation.” C.R.S. 14-2-309(1)(b). And that term is defined as:

“reasonable time to:

(I) Decide whether to retain a lawyer to provide independent legal representation; and

(II) Locate a lawyer to provide independent legal representation, obtain the lawyer’s advice, and consider the advice provided”

C.R.S. 14-2-309(2)(a)

Five days seems like a ludicrously short amount of time to decide whether to consult with a lawyer and act on the lawyer’s advice. Normally, I would agree that is not enough time for a prenuptial agreement.

But hold everything – Jeezy points out that both spouses had lawyers. Having a lawyer means not only that the requirement of sufficient time to get a lawyer has necessarily been met, but also having counsel pretty much destroys most arguments about not understanding the prenup or feeling pressured to sign it.

My conclusion? If this prenup were being interpreted in accordance with Colorado law rather than Georgia, it would be dead in the water if Mai had no lawyer. But her having a lawyer almost certainly means she had sufficient time for the process. I like Jeezy’s chances of defeating this claim.

Prenup Needs Adequate Financial Disclosures

Mai is also claiming that Jeezy did not provide her with a “transparent and detailed view” of his “assets, liabilities and overall financial standing.” It’s impossible to discern from the article what specifically she is complaining of – were Jeezy’s disclosures incomplete? Were the values inaccurate? Did Jeezy amalgamate his assets instead of itemizing each individual account?

Colorado law requires that the spouse seeking to enforce the prenup provided “adequate financial disclosure” to the other spouse, which means the other spouse either:

“(a) Receives a reasonably accurate description and good-faith estimate of value of the property, liabilities, and income of the other party; or
(c) Has adequate knowledge or a reasonable basis for having adequate knowledge of the information.”

C.R.S. 14-2-309(4) (There is no subsection (b) – it was repealed)

Note that unless your fiancé was also your CPA who knew your money situation better than you, replying upon “adequate knowledge” as an alternative to actually providing the details is asking for trouble.

So the spouses need to disclose the value of their property, their liabilities, and their income. No word on whether this must be broken out by account, or can be combined, but a spouse who really wants the prenup to be enforced would provide complete details.

At Graham.Law, we have an itemized disclosure form detailing each individual source of income, each individual asset (except minor ones like furniture or frequent flyer miles), and each individual debt. And if we represent the higher-earning spouse, we go the extra yard and provide corroborating financial statements for each of the items on the disclosure form. And most reputable lawyers insist on similar disclosures for a prenup/postnup as the law requires for a divorce – in other words, we leave nothing to chance.

If Jeezy’s disclosures were not adequate, then Mai has a shot at this. But she had a lawyer!! And her lawyer presumably had the ability to seek clarification, ask for more details, and otherwise had the opportunity to review everything provided, even if Mai herself did not.

Lawyers are great – everyone should have one or two. But the flipside is that if you have a lawyer, it’s real hard to argue you didn’t know what you were doing, or that your lawyer didn’t ensure that your fiancé provided you the disclosures you needed.

Conclusion – Don’t Try This At Home

Reputable family law firms don’t cut corners. There are several family law attorneys in southern Colorado who know what they are doing, and as long as the client is forthcoming with their financial disclosures, the prenups we draft will be real hard to challenge.

As we explain in this post, getting a solid prenuptial agreement means a process which is lengthy (ideally 60 days or more) and comprehensive (if in doubt, disclose). Paying attention to detail is worth it if it means the difference between a prenup which will withstand challenge and once vulnerable to attack.

But despite their wealth, it looks like Jeezy and Mai cut corners. No clue whether they hired inexperienced counsel, or if they themselves only decided belatedly to get a prenup, and their attorneys were pros who did everything imaginable in a short period of time to give them a valid prenup.

Whichever it was, a prenup should not be an afterthought. Starting the process months before the wedding (no less than 60 days, ideally up to 120 days) means that in the days before your wedding you are focusing on that special day with the person you love, and not wrangling over the details of a prenup as you are finalizing wedding plans.

How much time is enough time for a prenup? Ideally, more than five days!

Award-Winning Colorado Prenuptial Agreement Attorney

Enough time for a prenuptial agreement

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