People in Texas thinking of getting married need to examine whether they should have a prenuptial agreement. A recent news story serves as a cautionary tale. Kris Jenner, known as the matriarch of the celebrity Kardashian clan, and her husband Bruce are reported to not have a prenuptial agreement. The story of the impending end of their marriage may well set the stage for a long drawn out court battle over their fortune, estimated as totaling over $125 million.
Today, prenuptial agreements are not just for celebrities and the super-rich. In the five years ending in 2010, about 70 percent of all divorce lawyers in a survey reported seeing an increase in such agreements. These agreements are especially becoming popular with couples who are entering into a second or subsequent marriage or in which one or both spouses have built successful businesses or professional careers prior to the immediate marriage.
A prenuptial agreement can help protect a spouse’s separate assets in the event a marriage does not work out and can also help make sure that children from an earlier marriage, disabled relatives or other important family members are adequately cared for in the future.
A solid prenuptial agreement becomes a binding contract between the spouses mandating the level of spousal support in the event of a divorce, the division of the marital assets when necessary and how and to whom assets are to be passed along in the event one of the spouses die, among other issues. Prenuptial agreements obviously are more important for people with larger holdings, but those with a more modest portfolio certainly are just as interested in preserving an inheritance for their children from an earlier marriage. These agreements can also keep a spouse from claiming a share of an increase in value of assets acquired before marriage, including business ownership interests.
Each situation is unique and specific, so it can be extremely beneficial to discuss the issue with an experienced family law attorney.
Source: N.Y. Daily News, “Learn from the Kardashians’ mistakes: time to brush up on prenups” Phyllis Furman, Oct. 14, 2013