Dr. Dre and His Divorce: A Teachable Moment?

Jan 06, 2022

Andre “Dr. Dre” Young and Nicole Young have reached a divorce settlement, according to TMZ. Young first filed for divorce from Dr. Dre in June 2020, after 24 years of marriage. According to court documents, Young cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for divorce. She also accused Dr. Dre of abuse throughout their marriage, alleging that he “held a gun to [her] head” on two separate instances, “punched [her] in the head/face,” and “kicked down a door” while she hid “from his rage.” Young claimed that she suffers post-traumatic stress syndrome from the abuse, while Dr. Dre vehemently denied the abuse allegations altogether.

Dr. Dre and Young signed a prenuptial agreement in 1996, before their marriage. The prenuptial agreement stated that any property acquired in both of their names would be community property (equally split during a divorce). For the rest of the property, the spouse that purchased or received that property would keep it. The prenuptial agreement also stated that Young did not waive the right to spousal support.

Throughout the divorce proceedings, Young contested the prenuptial agreement and claimed it was signed under duress. Young explained in court documents, “I was extremely reluctant, resistant and afraid to sign the agreement and felt backed into a corner. Given the extraordinary pressure and intimidation by Andre, I was left with no option but to hire a lawyer (of course, with the help of Andre’s team of professionals) and unwillingly signed the agreement very shortly before our marriage.” Young also claimed the prenuptial agreement to be null and void because Dr. Dre tore it up a few years into their marriage. However, according to the prenuptial agreement itself, it could only be amended or terminated through writing, and there was no evidence of such writing.

Dr. Dre wanted any distribution of property to be controlled by the prenup, while Young claimed that Dr. Dre owed her half of his $1 billion estate and $2 million in spousal support a month. The court upheld the prenuptial agreement. Accordingly, Dr. Dre will pay Young a total of $100 million in two installments as a part of their property settlement agreement, while he has an estimated net worth of $820 million. She will not receive any alimony. According to TMZ, Young will keep four vehicles, all of her jewelry, and the cash and bank accounts she maintained. Dr. Dre will keep the seven properties they own, six vehicles, retain full rights to his master recordings, trademarks, and interests in various partnerships and trusts, and his stocks in Apple, which include proceeds from his sale of Beats by Dre.

Had Dr. Dre and Young not signed a valid prenuptial agreement, Young likely would have walked out of the divorce with many more millions of dollars. Since the prenuptial agreement was valid, the court had to rely on it when it came to alimony and property division. Let’s take a look at the New Jersey law that would apply to their divorce.

In New Jersey, prenuptial agreements are governed by N.J.S.A. 37:2-31. Prenuptial agreements set out each parties’ rights and assets in the unfortunate event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement is enforceable by the courts as long as it was entered into voluntarily, there was full disclosure of financial information, and the parties were represented by their attorneys or agreed to waive that right. The burden of proof to invalidate a prenuptial agreement is on the party alleging the agreement to be unenforceable. That party must establish by clear and convincing evidence that the agreement was entered into involuntarily or that it was unconscionable upon execution. It is often extremely difficult to invalidate a prenuptial agreement. Without more information, it would be difficult to see Dr. Dre and Young’s prenuptial agreement invalidated in New Jersey. Additionally, to amend or revoke a prenuptial agreement in New Jersey, the parties must draft and sign a newly written document stating their intent to amend or revoke the agreement. Tearing up the prenuptial agreement, as in Dr. Dre and Young’s case, would not be enough to satisfy revocation and the prenuptial agreement would be upheld in the courts.

If you have any questions regarding your New Jersey divorce or prenuptial agreements, please contact the skilled matrimonial attorneys at Sarno da Costa D’Aniello Maceri LLC. Call us today at (973) 274-5200.