Actor Doug Anthony Hutchison was 35 years old when aspiring country singer Courtney Alexis Stodden was born. Sixteen short years later, and the couple is married.

Is there a prenuptial agreement in the house?

Most marriages commence with high hopes and dreams of a lifetime together, and many marriages end for reasons ranging from incompatibility and infidelity to financial woes, problems with in-laws and a host of other factors.

Hutchison and Stodden may be golden forever, and the decades-long difference in their ages might ultimately not make a whit of difference in their relationship. As an academic matter, though, a 51-year-old established actor -- Hutchison has starred in the television hit Lost as well as the movie The Green Mile -- marrying a 16-year-old girl does logically open the door for discussion of why a premarital agreement might make sense in such a relationship.

For starters, it bears mentioning that family law attorneys and marriage professionals do not see such an agreement as being in opposition to love, trust and hopes for a lasting marriage. Rather, a prenup is a useful planning tool that is gaining in credence and popularity in the United States for a number of reasons.

In Hutchison's case, for example, it is likely that he has amassed more than a modicum of assets and property, which might include real estate, one or more businesses, stocks, artwork and more. Knowing how those assets are to be regarded and distributed in the event of death or divorce creates a certainty and comfort level that extends to both partners in a marriage.

And, in many marriages underscored by such a substantial age difference between the partners, the older spouse often has children from a previous marriage, although this is not the case with Hutchison. Under such a scenario, a premarital agreement can be an important legal instrument that helps protect enumerated assets of an estate for the kids of a previous marriage.

Hutchison and Stodden were married in Las Vegas in May. The minimum marriage age in Nevada is 18; however, a 16-year-old can marry with the consent of his or her parents. Stodden's parents readily consented to her marriage with Hutchison.

Related Resource: People, "Doug Anthony Hutchison Marries 16-Year-Old Country Singer" June 21, 2011