One of the most important, and least pleasant, legal documents that I recommend for all of my clients is a prenuptial agreement. Nobody wants to enter into marriage with the thought that it could end in divorce. But, the reality is, we need to plan for the worst-case scenario. That is, after all, why we have insurance, wills, trusts and asset protection planning: So that we are protected in the case of a law suit, so that our loved ones are cared for in the event of our death, or in this case, in the event that a marriage does not survive the test of time.
We are reminded of this risk quite often by news of high profile celebrity divorces. These include the short-lived impulsive marriages of the rich and famous, which end in bitterness and scandal, with one spouse taking billions in a divorce settlement that didn’t have the benefit of a prenuptial agreement to guide the distribution of wealth. In many cases, if these couples had had the foresight to have an experienced asset protection attorney draft a prenuptial agreement, much of the drama and financial battling that goes through the divorce courts every year would be unnecessary.
Take as an example the case of Russelle Brand and Katie Perry: Platinum selling superstar Perry’s whirlwind romance and marriage to Brand was short lived. Unfortunately, it seems that Ms. Perry did not protect her personal assets with a prenuptial agreement, and Mr. Brand stands to walk away with approximately $30 million after only 14 months of marriage to the superstar.
The recent divorce of Kobe Bryant from his bride Vanessa was also reported to have no prenuptial agreement. In a statement reported in the LA Times, Vanessa’s mother was quoted as saying “She just came home one day and said something to the effect that Kobe didn’t want a prenup, that he loved her too much.”
But a prenuptial agreement addresses more than the possibility of divorce and trying to keep your assets away from your ex. It forces couples to address some uncomfortable issues before a marriage, and protects all involved from a lengthy and painful drawn out process in court. It protects family in the case of death or separation. And, in the case of second marriages and blended family situations, it allows one to make sure all of the children and family members are provided for in the event of death, separation or divorce.
I can’t stress enough the importance of a well-drafted prenuptial agreement. If you are planning to get married, please give me a call and start planning for your future now. Additionally, if you are recently married and considering asset planning and protection for your family, a post-nuptial agreement can also be done. Contact our offices for a consultation.