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Prenuptial agreements protect property and privacy concerns

Does a high-asset divorce require more time and court involvement? If a couple failed to execute a prenuptial agreement, the answer might be yes.

Although a prenuptial agreement can provide a structured approach to property division, couples may not have executed one for several reasons. Perhaps their wealth was acquired during the marriage. Other couples may have regarded such agreements as unromantic or bad luck.

However, a divorce attorney might observe that such agreements can be a sign of true love, unfettered by any distractions of material wealth or possessions. In addition, if life circumstances change and a couple decides to go their separate ways, a prenuptial agreement may minimize disagreements and facilitate a smoother, more collaborative divorce.

Even more importantly, a prenuptial agreement can be one strategy for ensuring privacy. For example, if a dispute about the equitable division of the marital estate required court intervention, there’s a risk that each spouse’s financial net worth might become a matter of public record.

Finally, a prenuptial agreement can also be a catalyst for organization. To the extent that an agreement calls for specific itemizations, a couple might be inspired to annually update their list of assets, which may include often overlooked items including life insurance polices, securities, retirement accounts and more.

Of course, an attorney can also provide invaluable property division advice in divorce proceedings where the couples do not have a prenuptial agreement. From identifying property to valuing it, an attorney can help a client develop a legal strategy designed to yield a good result.

Source: Forbes, "Three Of The Biggest Mistakes The Wealthy Make When Divorcing," Russ Alan Prince, June 9, 2014

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