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Tennessee judge upholds singer's prenuptial agreement

Singer Jill Scott's break-up with her husband just 15 months after the two married has garnered considerable media attention largely because her estranged husband, Mike Dobson, has been seeking spousal support. He's asking for this money despite the fact that the couple's prenuptial agreement stipulated that neither party would seek support.

According to a court document that's been made public, the prenup also stated "the parties' specific intention not to create any marital property." Nonetheless, Dobson has sought half the assets acquired by both of them during the marriage.

Dobson reportedly has argued that Scott coerced him into signing the prenup and that she invalidated it by changing the locks on the couple's house and placing his belongings in storage. When the singer filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences, she reportedly said that continuing to live with her husband would potentially be unsafe.

Now, a judge here in Tennessee has upheld the terms of the prenup and denied Dobson's request for support as well as legal fees totaling about $6,500. Requiring Scott to pay those fees, the judge ruled, would be comparable to paying spousal support. However, the judge, by denying the motion without prejudice, left open the option for Dobson to seek support as the divorce proceeds and to reverse the decision if circumstances warrant it.

Scott's husband appears to be at a disadvantage financially to his famous wife. His attorney said that Dobson, who works for the City of Atlanta, earns $58,000 annually from his job as well as income from rental property. However, he reportedly has financial obligations, including child support, that leave him with little left to spend.

Scott's attorney, according to a court transcript, noted in a hearing that her client, despite the prenup, "did not throw him out with nothing," but gave her husband $20,000. She also said that "during the course of the marriage, she deposited funds into an account for his…benefit." Dobson claims that the $20,000 was for "family expenses," and that he got none of it.

While a provision in a prenup stipulating that no spousal support will be paid if a couple divorces isn't always ironclad, it can often discourage a spouse from going to court to seek it. Whether you're the one being asked to pay alimony or the one asking for it, it's essential to have experienced legal guidance.

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