After being married for seven years, former child actress Olivia Hack has officially filed for divorce from her husband, Jeffrey Stewart. According to documents filed with the court, the couple has been separated since November 2020. Hack, best known for roles on TV shows such as The Brady Bunch and Hey Arnold, cited that the couple is divorcing due to “irreconcilable differences.”
Despite this, Hack and Stewart appear to get along just fine. The couple has posted pictures of themselves continuing to spend time together at casual events. Hack herself captioned one of these photos, “Yeah we’re separated and we still have a good time,” indicating that the couple may have decided they’re better off as friends.
This kind of amicable split is likely why the couple’s divorce is going so smoothly. It’s unclear whether they have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place. Regardless, Hack stated in the court paperwork that “all property acquired by gift request or devise” and “all [community] property acquired during marriage shall be deemed separate property.” Essentially, she requests that everything she acquired during her marriage remains hers alone, the same for Stewart. She has also asked that all rights to spousal support be severed, protecting both from being ordered to pay the other alimony. Finally, Hack has also volunteered to pay all attorneys’ fees for Stewart.
Because it goes against California’s standard rules for dividing property in divorce, Stewart could dispute her request to keep property separate. If he did and there was no prenuptial agreement to back up Hack’s request, Stewart would have grounds to pursue half of all assets the couple acquired during their seven years of marriage. However, he has not apparently filed any such complaints.
This approach can be a simple and effective way for amicable couples to divide their assets if they both have the means to support themselves. Keep reading to learn how a prenuptial agreement could support arrangements like Hack’s and what you can do to keep the asset division process amicable even if you don’t have a prenup in place.
The Benefits of Prenups in Amicable Divorces
The common perception of prenups is that they are contracts designed to prevent adversarial divorces from dragging out. However, these contracts can be just as valuable for amicable splits. For instance, if Hack and Stewart had a prenup in place, it likely helped them keep their breakup friendly. Without any assets to dispute, it’s easy to remain cordial with a partner even if you no longer want to stay married.
For that same reason, prenups take some weight off your shoulders. With a comprehensive prenup, you can simply follow the terms of the contract during your split. This reduces the time, effort, and cost of ending your marriage, which is better for both of you.
How to Divide Assets Without a Prenuptial Agreement
But what if you don’t have a prenup? You may still be able to divide assets as smoothly as Hack and Stewart with the right approach. Here’s how.
Work Together If Possible
The best way to streamline asset division without a prenuptial agreement is to work with your partner, not against them. This is easiest in amicable splits, but it can still work if you have disputes with your partner. When you both approach your divorce in good faith and with the intention to compromise, you may be able to resolve arguments without pursuing litigation.
Produce a Thorough Financial Disclosure
Part of dissolving a marriage is providing a financial disclosure to your spouse regarding all the assets you own, alone or jointly. They will provide you with a similar disclosure that includes their own separate property and the joint property of which they’re aware.
If you can collaborate, you can produce your financial disclosures at the same time. This ensures you’re both on the same page regarding the assets that you consider joint and separate. Your disclosures can also act as checklists, clarifying what you’ll need to split in your divorce.
Determine Your Top Priorities
Once you know all the items you need to divide, you can decide what matters to you the most. Some people have strong attachments to specific assets, such as a home or a family business. Others care most about keeping their retirement funds or pensions. You may just want to end your marriage as efficiently as possible.
Knowing what you care about can help you keep your priorities straight when dividing your assets. For example, Hack and Stewart apparently prioritized efficiency. They kept their split streamlined by declaring their assets entirely separate, significantly reducing the need for asset division. Even if you want to keep certain joint assets, you can prioritize them in negotiations and make concessions on things that matter less.
Consult the Experts on Complicated Assets
Some assets may be too complicated to simply declare separate or split down the middle. For property such as real estate, businesses, or complex investments, it’s usually best to bring in an expert to help. A great option is to have an appraiser evaluate the item to determine its worth. This can help you decide how to handle it without taking the matter to court.
Address Your Assets Fairly With Qualified Legal Counsel
The best way to make sure your divorce goes smoothly is to work with experienced legal counsel. A knowledgeable attorney will help you and your spouse divide your assets fairly, often without litigation. At Kaspar & Lugay, LLP, we understand your desire to keep the divorce process as simple as possible. Whether you want to ensure your prenup is followed or amicably divide your assets, we can help you make it happen. If your spouse refuses to compromise, we are also prepared to advocate on your behalf in court. Schedule your consultation to learn how we can help you with your divorce, amicable or otherwise.