Why Jeff Bezos' Divorce is a Good Reminder to Get a Prenup
Jeff Bezos, the billionaire CEO of Amazon, announced in a tweet that he would be divorcing his wife MacKenzie. Now that the couple has announced their intentions to separate, everyone is wondering whether the two had prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Jeff Bezos’ fortune is estimated to be worth $136 billion, making him the wealthiest man on the planet. According to experts, the absence of these important marriage agreements could be costly for Bezos and Amazon investors.
Investors who have their money tied up in Amazon are wondering if Ms. Bezos will sell her portion of the couple’s 16% stake in the company once the divorce is final. Will she end up taking a seat on Amazon’s board of directors? Will she advocate for strategic or management changes within the company?
Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements?
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements dictate the property rights and legal responsibilities for a couple in the event that their marriage comes to an end or one spouse dies. Prenups are made before the marriage, while postnups are made after the marriage. When a couple doesn’t have these important documents, state law will determine how their assets are distributed.
Bezos and his wife live in Washington, a community property state. In community property states, “money earned by either spouse during marriage and all property bought with those earnings are considered community property that is owned equally by husband and wife."
Bezos and his wife got married before he founded Amazon, and if the couple never executed prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, he could find himself half as wealthy after his divorce is finalized.
Do I Need a Prenup or Postnup?
Even if you aren’t as wealthy as Jeff Bezos, you should take stock of your current assets and potential future assets before you get married to decide if you need a prenup or postnup to protect your interests.
LegalShield.com says that the use of prenups among its members over the last year has increased sevenfold. According to a 2016 survey from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 62% of respondents saw an increase in the number of clients seeking a prenup over the last 3 years. AAML also notes a specific increase among millennial clients.
Many young couples today want to keep their future assets and earnings separate. For older couples and people going on their second marriages, prenups are a useful tool to preserve their assets or protect inheritances for children from previous marriages.
Postnups aren’t as common as prenups. This is because spouses aren’t willing to sign one because some state laws might favor them in a divorce. In fact, some states don’t even allow postnups because they are not enforceable from a public policy standpoint.
It is important to note that just because you have a prenup or a postnup, it doesn't mean you will necessarily avoid going to court when you get divorced. Premarital agreements can be challenged for the following reasons:
- The agreement is unbalanced
- The agreement is missing key steps
- The agreement includes unenforceable terms
- The agreement crosses state lines
Talk to a Long Island Divorce Lawyer Today
If you are getting married, you should consider drafting prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. At Hedayati Law Group, our team of experienced lawyers are committed to assisting clients throughout New York with their family law cases. We have the skills and resources that you need to make sure your rights and interests are fully protected. Our attorneys are here to answer your questions and guide you through the entire legal process.Call (631) 880-6440 to set up a free consultation with a Long Island divorce attorney to find out what we can do for you.