Much of the focus on divorce centers around the question of “now what?”. What will happen to your property? Will you keep your house? Will your retirement savings be affected? Will you receive or provide spousal maintenance?
It turns out that for many divorces, something that happened many years before will have the biggest impact on the answers to these questions. Two celebrity news headlines from this week bring the issue clearly into focus:
- Ewan McGregor to lose half of his TV and movie fortune in divorce settlement
- Tracy Morgan files for divorce, prenup in place, he wants her to drop his name
Both divorce cases involve high profile individuals with significant financial means. However, McGregor stands to lose a large amount of money as a result of his divorce while Morgan – due to having a prenuptial agreement in place – is able to focus on arguably less important issues such as whether his spouse will keep his surname post-divorce.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are far from romantic. Perhaps it is best to think of them as we think of life insurance, a necessity that we hope we never need to make use of. Viewing a prenuptial agreement as a legal and financial document rather than a measure of your confidence in your relationship may allow you to take steps now to protect your interests in the event the unthinkable happens.
Prenuptial agreements can protect your children and your business
If you already have children, a prenuptial agreement can help you set aside assets for your children that will be there for them regardless of the status of your new marriage, ensuring stability as you enter a new phase of your life. Likewise, if you own your own business it is important to take steps to insulate your business from your personal life so both can thrive.
Your prenuptial agreement will hopefully be encased in a thick layer of dust as you enjoy the rest of your life with your spouse, but the headlines surrounding Ewan McGregor and Tracy Morgan show how important it is to make sure it exists.