Dr. Dre vs Nicole Young

Andre Romelle Young is a 55-year-old American rapper known as Dr. Dre.  He has branched out in the music world from rapper and songwriter, to sound engineer, record producer and executive and entrepreneur.  He is the CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics.  Previously, he co-owned Death Row Records.  Dre’s net worth, according to Forbes Magazine is about $800 million.

In 1996, Dr. Dre married attorney Nicole Thrett.  She is also the ex-wife of NBA player Sedale Thrett.  The couple have two children together, a son (born in 1997) and a daughter (born in 2001).  Both children are now adults.

In late June of 2020, Nicole filed for dissolution of marriage in California citing irreconcilable differences. She is requesting spousal support.  According to TMZ, the couple does not have a prenuptial agreement.

California is a no-fault divorce state.  This means that neither party has to show wrongdoing of the other party for a court to grant a divorce.  If there is no prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement to the contrary, a court will divide the marital assets and debts equally.  Also, whether a party is entitled to support is based on need of one spouse and the ability of the other spouse to pay it.  Spousal support (in some states known as alimony) is not a punishment or reward for a spouse’s good or bad behavior during the marriage.  Need is based on the standard of living the spouses shared during their marriage.  If one party cannot financially support him/herself at the same standard of living post-marriage, and the other party can afford to pay, spousal support can be awarded.

When spousal support is awarded in a divorce, it is provided for a specific length of time usually based on about half the length of the marriage.  When the end date arrives, the support terminates permanently, and the court’s jurisdiction over the parties ends.

However, California law recognizes what it calls a long-term marriage – a marriage that lasted for ten years or more.  In a long-term marriage, a court will retain jurisdiction and the issue of spousal support for as long as one spouse needs support and the other has the ability to pay.  California created this law to provide spouses, who because of the length of their marriage, would probably never be able to reach the financial status after the marriage ended as during the marriage.

The Dr. Dre and Nicole Young marriage is a good example of a long-term marriage.  They were married for over 20 years.  Although Nicole is an attorney, it was Dre’s business and musical acumen that allowed for their lifestyle.  If Nicole can show the court that she will not be able to reach her marital standard living on her own, the court can award spousal support.  Further, the court can maintain jurisdiction of the issue of spousal support without a specific ending date – other than the death of one of the parties.

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