Amazon CEO and billionaire, Jeff Bezos, recently announced on Twitter that he and his wife are getting a divorce. With no prenuptial agreement in place, Bezos stands to lose a significant portion of his fortune, estimated at $136 billion. This case highlights the importance of prenuptial agreements for couples who plan to get married and post-nuptial agreements for those who are already married.
What are the Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement allows couples to decide how their property will be distributed in the event of a death or divorce. In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, state law regarding marital property distribution will prevail. Although it may be an uncomfortable topic, there are several benefits to prenuptial agreements, including:
- Saving time and money: Couples can avoid lengthy and time-consuming divorce proceedings by using a prenuptial agreement. Over time, couples may disagree on issues they previously agreed upon. Prenuptial agreements help to preserve the parties’ original intentions and avoid contentious court battles.
- Deciding how marital property will be split: Laws regarding the distribution of marital property vary by state. Instead of having a judge handle the distribution according to state law, couples can agree on how the marital property will be split in the event of a divorce.
- Keeping individual assets and debts separate: Those who wish to retain possession of family heirlooms and other property they acquired before the marriage may benefit from a prenuptial agreement. Couples can also agree to keep certain property separate, including debts acquired individually before the marriage.
Why Should I Have a Post-Nuptial Agreement?
Post-nuptial agreements are designed for couples who are already married. Couples who did not enter into a prenuptial agreement may still use a post-nuptial agreement, which also addresses each spouse’s rights and responsibilities in the event of a divorce. There are many reasons to have a post-nuptial agreement, including:
- Protecting assets from children from a previous marriage
- Ensuring that a spouse who quits their job to take care of minor children has adequate financial resources
- Protecting a spouse from the consequences of their partner’s irresponsible financial habits
Certain states do not allow post-nuptial agreements because of the presumed imbalance of power between the parties after marriage. Even in those that do, certain requirements must be met for them to be enforceable. Couples should therefore seek advice from an experienced divorce attorney in their local area who can explain their legal options.
States use either the community property or equitable distribution method for dividing property upon divorce. In community property states, property acquired during the marriage is equally divided between the spouses. Equitable distribution states, like Maryland, do not require property to be divided equally between the spouses. Rather, each spouse’s circumstances are considered, and property is accordingly divided in a manner that is fair to each party.
Towson Divorce Lawyers at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC Help Couples with Prenuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements
If you are considering a pre or post-nuptial agreement, contact a Towson divorce lawyer at Huesman, Jones & Miles, LLC. Our experienced attorneys can help you and your partner draft a mutually beneficial agreement and ensure that your rights are protected. From our offices in Hunt Valley and Towson, Maryland, we represent clients in Baltimore, Baltimore County, Bel Air, Columbia, Westminster, Essex, Monkton, Sparks, Parkton, Pikesville, Carroll County, Harford County, and Howard County. For a free, confidential consultation, contact us online or call us at 443-589-0150.