Zuba & Associates, P.C.

High-asset marriages should utilize prenuptial agreements

Illinois couples considering marriage may wish to look into the benefits of a prenuptial agreement. If a marriage ends in divorce, a prenuptial agreement is a helpful tool for protecting assets and keeping one's finances secure.

One way of thinking of the value of prenuptial agreements is to look at celebrity break-ups. They can serve to illustrate marriage and divorce issues on a number of levels, including the importance of a prenuptial agreement. Entertainers and athletes often have high incomes, but surprisingly not all of those wealthy and famous individuals have taken the steps to protect their assets in the event of a divorce. Others, however, have created prenuptial agreements, lining out each individual's assets prior to the marriage.

One of the most recent cases to make headlines is that of basketball star Kobe Bryant. He and his former wife divorced earlier this year, and despite Bryant being one of the world's wealthiest and most famous athletes, the former couple apparently didn't have a prenuptial agreement. As a result, the divorce settlement awarded $150 million -- half of the athlete's fortune -- to his ex-wife.

In the case of Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom, however, the couple is still married, but their prenuptial agreement guarantees Kardashian a hefty sum of money in the event they ever split up. But there may be questions about the quality of that agreement, given the large amount to be given to Kardashian despite the likelihood of her becoming much wealthier than her husband some day.

While most Illinois couples may not have wealth totaling in the hundreds of millions, these stories highlight the importance of financial planning before marriage. A prenuptial agreement can protect assets and wealth in the event of a divorce. Such an agreement can also prevent unpleasant surprises or future misunderstandings on the off chance a marriage doesn't work out.

Source: newsnet 5, "Celebrity divorces show the power of the prenup," Ed Greenberger, May 17, 2012

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