If Britney Spears and Kevin Federline were getting divorced in New York….

Well, if the Federlines were getting divorced in New York, the outcome would probably be similar to what would happen in California or other states because it seems as if the parties had a pre-nuptial agreement. Pre-nups are fully enforceable in New York unless one party can show that they were forced to enter this agreement against their will, or there was fraud, inducement or some other reason that the court would refuse to enforce the agreement. Some famous New Yorkers like Donald Trump and Ronald Perelman have always been saved by air tight prenups that survived legal challenge. Usually in order to have a pre nup survive challenge it is wise to have both parties get independent legal counsel and if possible videotape the signing so that one party can’t say they were coerced into signing.
And its wise to sign the agreement well before the wedding day. Eleventh hour agreements signed on the day of the marriage are probably going to be more scrutinized than other agreements which were signed in advance. It also matters that the terms of the agreement are reasonable. If, for example, one party makes significantly more than the other and the agreement calls for the less-earning spouse to come out with nothing, it probably will not survive a strong challenge by competent counsel.
Not every thing is negotiable in a pre nup. For example, you can’t have a prenup which says that one parent won’t have access to the children in the case of a divorce, or that one parent pays no child support whatsoever in the event of a divorce. There are laws such as the Child Support Standards Act which would probably trump any such agreeement.
Pre nups are great because it remains between the parties and is not made public (pre nups do not have to be filed with the court).
So in that sense the terms of the Federlines’ divorce will remain private. But since Kevin Federline is reportedly challenging the custody arrangements and seeking spousal support, some of the agreement is likely to get leaked to the press in the coming months.
If the parties were getting divorced in New York, Kevin might have a good chance of getting joint custody if not full custody. There have been so many reports of Britney’s unfitness as a mother that has played out in the media including an incident where the child fell out of a high chair, the seat-belt debacle and other instances.
Whether the divorce happened in New York or else where it should be an interesting case to watch.