Florida residents may have been following the highly publicized divorce of Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos. This high net worth divorce is notable not just due to Bezos’ $137 billion fortune, but due to the fact that Amazon, which he founded while married, may be considered marital property and could be included in the divisible marital estate.
Another notable lesson we can learn from Bezos’ divorce is the importance of prenuptial agreements. Bezos and his wife reportedly had not executed a prenuptial agreement. This could significantly affect the outcome of his divorce.
Prenuptial agreements are important for several reasons. They allow the couple to consider, prior to getting married, who will retain ownership rights over which assets. Oftentimes, high net worth couples come into a marriage with significant assets of their own. Executing a prenuptial agreement can ensure these assets retain their separate nature and will not be considered marital property in the event of a divorce.
Of course, not all couples will execute a prenup and, even if they do, they may not anticipate coming into a very valuable asset, such as a successful business, while married. However, all is not lost. Couples can still execute a post-nuptial agreement. Post-nuptial agreements can cover the same topics a prenup can, but post-nuptial agreements are executed while the couple is married, not before the marriage.
So, whether you are thinking of executing a prenuptial agreement or a post-nuptial agreement, it is important that you understand your rights. No one wants to be taken advantage of in such situations, so it is important to ensure that a full disclosure of assets is made when executing such agreements, so that the final agreement is fair to both parties. To achieve this goal, many people choose to retain their own legal counsel, so they can ensure their interests are protected and that the final document will be comprehensive and enforceable.