When California couples decide to marry, they typically go into their marriage with optimism. However, failure to plan for a future in which the marriage may not work out can be very costly for those who have high assets. Prenuptial agreements may seem cynical, but they may be necessary to protect an individual's assets. Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, may be facing this exact quandary after he and his wife announced their divorce, and apparently they have no prenuptial agreement in place.
Bezos is reportedly worth around $136 billion, and he did not found Amazon and amass his fortune until after he was married. They were married in a community property state – just like California – which means that any property and assets are equally owned by him and his wife. Had they had either a prenup or postnup, it could have outlined their exact property rights and detailed any future responsibilities each one may have had to the other after a divorce.
Creating a pre- or postnup is apparently rising in demand, and one survey among lawyers said they had seen a 62% increase in requests from clients, with a large number of those clients being millenials. These younger clients may want to separate their future assets, safeguard a family business or protect possible future income resulting from a new business. Couples who are getting married for the second time or who are older may wish to designate that an inheritance be given to their children from their first marriage instead of the new spouse.
A prenuptial agreement can be challenged if it is too favorable to one party, has overlooked any key elements, fails to mention any future earnings, or if the couple moves to another state. For these and many other reasons, California couples looking to marry may want to consult an experienced attorney before drafting a pre- or postnup. Doing so can give everyone involved peace of mind and allow both spouses to move forward as a team, confident that should their marriage not last, their needs and desires will still be met.