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Was future income a major element to Russell Wilson's divorce?

Many residents here in Clemson, South Carolina are well aware of Russell Wilson, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks. But before he became a national celebrity, Wilson was plying his athletic trade in the other Carolina. He was a star football and baseball player for North Carolina State before completing his NCAA eligibility with Wisconsin for one season. Then he moved on to the NFL, where in just his second season he won the sport's most illustrious award: the Lombardi Trophy, signifying that he and the Seahawks won the NFL championship.

Now, you may be wondering why we're talking about Russell Wilson on this divorce blog. While the simple, and obvious, answer is that he just announced that he would be filing for divorce from his wife of two years, there is a wrinkle to Wilson's divorce that makes it particularly noteworthy: this divorce may be financially motivated.

How do we come to that assumption? Well, Wilson is still playing under his rookie contract. As such, he is not paid on par with what a Super Bowl-winning QB should make. In fact, it's not even close. But after this upcoming NFL season, Wilson will be entitled to renegotiate his contract, which would have one more year remaining.

At that point, Wilson will command quite a bit of money from the Seahawks. Even if he doesn't get the money then, he would be able to hit free agency the following year -- and he would be paid handsomely anyway. In either case, Wilson has a huge payday on the horizon. Did he divorce now to protect his untold millions in the future?

It's very possible, and it wouldn't be the first time someone has done it. Prenuptial agreements can outline how factors such as alimony are dealt with in a divorce, but without a prenup the spouses could wage long court battles over finances. Wilson likely has a prenup, given the high-asset nature of his job. But even if he didn't, this move could protect him from potentially having to pay his soon-to-be-ex a massive portion of his new income.

Source: Seattle Times, "Seahawks' Russell Wilson, wife divorcing after 2 years," Bob Condotta, April 23, 2014

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