By Hayley Ellison, Consultant
“Oops!… she did it again” Britney Spears, is the pop sensation who has dominated our hearts and bank accounts since her iconic debut with “…Baby One More Time” in 1998. Her first album, “Baby One More Time,” dropped in 1999 and went on to sell over 25 million copies worldwide.
While Britney taught a generation of young girls how to sing, dance, and dream of pop stardom, her tumultuous love life also serves as an important cautionary tale for all of us.
In this article, we will deep dive into the love life of Britney Spears to extract essential family law lessons, from Britney’s lightning-fast annulment, child support showdowns with Kevin Federline, to the vital importance of pre-nuptial agreements.
“I just can’t sleep… I’m so excited I’m in too deep”
– Annulments: A 55-hour love story
On a fateful night out in Las Vegas, January 3, 2004, Britney Spears and Jason Alexander had a few too many drinks then impulsively tied the knot at a little white chapel. But, alas, for Jason, who believed they’d live happily ever after, this fairytale romance was annulled just 55 hours later.
An annulment legally voids the marriage on the basis that it is invalid as opposed to a divorce which legally brings a marriage to an end. Unlike a divorce where parties need to be separated for 12 months prior to filing, there is no statutory length of time which must pass before a person can file for an annulment.
In Britney’s case, she claimed that she “lacked understanding of her actions, to the extent that she was incapable of agreeing to the marriage.” Britney and Jason’s marriage was annulled on the grounds of fraud as Britney asserted that they had entered their marriage without a clear understanding of its’ implications.
Down under in Australia, annulments are granted for bigamy, underage unions, or marriages under duress. They’re pricier and require more evidence than your run-of-the-mill divorce, making them as rare as a hit pop single.
“She’s so lucky, she’s a star, but she cry, cry, cries in her lonely heart”
– Child Support when separation occurs
We all remember when Britney fell for her back-up dancer, Kevin Federline, in 2004. Their whirlwind romance led to the birth of two little stars, Sean Preston and Jayden James. However, in November 2006, Britney filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences, and sought custody of their kids.
The legal battle was a circus, and by July 2007, Kevin had full custody, thanks to Britney’s “habitual, frequent and continuous use of controlled substances and alcohol” at the time. The drama continued as Britney was placed under a conservatorship by her father, Jamie Spears.
Fast forward to September 2019, when Kevin had the kids 70% of the time, and Britney was shelling out $20,000 a month for child support, tuition fees, and extracurricular activities. Kevin even made headlines by reportedly seeking more child support recently.
While most of us won’t face child support bills like Britney’s, it’s a crucial matter in separations to ensure children are financially cared for. In Australia, Services Australia (the artists formerly known as the Child Support Agency) calculates child support using an 8-step formula. But remember, it caps at a combined income of $206,310, meaning high-earning couples max out there.
In cases like these or celebrity divorces like Britney’s, parties often ink Binding Child Support Agreements, which afford parties the opportunity to have a bespoke agreement for their individual circumstances. These Agreements give parties the ability to agree to payment of child support at a higher rate than the assessment amount, agreement to pay for other things such as private school tuition fees, private health insurance and extra-curricular activity expenses.
“A guy like you should wear a warning”
– A Case Study in Pre-Nuptial Agreements
In June 2022, Britney Spears married Sam Asghari, her third husband, seven months after her conservatorship was dissolved. But by August 2023, Sam filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.
Thankfully, Britney, the seasoned pro in love’s courtroom battles, had a pre-nuptial agreement in place. The details, reported by US Weekly, include Sam getting a cool $1 million every two years of marriage, maxing out at $10 million after 15 years. He also waved goodbye to any claims on Britney’s precious music catalogue and his name was nowhere to be found on the deed of their shared love nest. Furthermore, Sam is precluded from seeking spousal support.
With Britney boasting a net worth ranging from $60-70 million and Sam having a humble $1 million, it’s clear why Sam might be singing “Gimme More”. However, if the prenup is as ironclad as her hits, he might just have to “Work, b*tch.”
A prenup, or as they call it in Australia, a Binding Financial Agreement, aren’t solely the terrain of the rich and famous. They serve as a potent shield for anyone looking to fortify their financial future or sidestep court battles where it feels like your former partner is seeking “a piece of me.” These agreements can be forged before, during, or after marriage, ensuring that you’re not “Toxic” before considering one.
In our concluding crescendo, Britney’s rollercoaster journey through family law imparts crucial insights into marriage, annulments, child support, and pre-nuptial agreements. While her life unfurled as a high-octane drama, the lessons learned from her legal escapades apply to anyone navigating the intricate world of family law.
Although Britney wanted us all to “say hello to the girl that I am, you’re gonna have to see through my perspective, I need to make mistakes just to learn who I am and I don’t wanna be so damn protected”….it is fortunate that she allowed herself to be protected, particularly in her most recent marriage to Sam Asgari.
Britney, in all her “Toxic” glory, reminds us that even pop princesses require protection, particularly when navigating the twists and turns of matrimony.
If you would like advice regarding entering into a pre-nuptial or other Binding Financial Agreement or agreements with respect to child support, then please contact the team at Carr & Co via our website www.carrco.com.au or on 08 9322 8000.