Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “Can I get the judge to order my spouse to pay my attorney’s fees in a property division case?”
Though initial reports indicated that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie did not have a prenuptial agreement, that appears to have been inaccurate. Various papers are now reporting the two signed an agreement before marrying which lays out how their assets will be divided in the event of an eventual divorce. Though some feel the approach may not be the most romantic, it’s certainly useful, especially in the case of Brad and Angelina who some experts believe have a combined marital estate worth upwards of $400 million.
Though few of us will ever know the hardships of dividing $400 million, the same lessons can apply to our slightly more meager circumstances. Prenuptial agreements are good ideas for nearly all couples, not just celebrities. The benefit of a prenup is that it allows couples to make informed decisions about how to divide assets in advance of a split, hopefully allowing cooler heads to prevail. This can be beneficial for many couples, but it comes with special benefits for certain groups.
The first group of people who benefit tremendously from prenuptial agreements are those like Brad and Angelina: people with high incomes or a large number of valuable assets. These people are especially incentivized to take steps to protect their assets as they know in advance there is great potential for a brawl should the marriage fail to go the distance. Rather than risk having your assets divided up in a nasty divorce battle or put your money in the hands of a randomly selected judge, prenups allow you to take steps in advance of trouble to secure your financial future.
A second group that benefits from prenuptial agreements are those on their second or third marriage (also like Brad and Angelina). These people have experienced firsthand how disruptive divorce can be and, given their age, have likely accumulated assets that they want to see protected in case a divorce should occur. Those on second or third marriages may also have children from previous relationships to look after and want to ensure that their children, rather than the new spouse or step kids, are taken care of in case something bad should happen. Again, the prenup allows you to stop worrying and solve problems before they arise.
A final group that can really benefit from a prenuptial agreement may come as a surprise: young couples. Though people often think prenups are only for those with lots of money or children to protect, prenups can be incredibly useful for those just starting out. Prenuptial agreements allow you to make plans for future wealth, money that you may earn during your marriage or inherit. These agreements serve as a kind of insurance, protecting you and shielding your assets from future uncertainty. Though you may not yet have anything worth protecting, you don’t know what the future holds and after several decades have passed, you may dearly wish you had taken the time to allocate assets in advance, taking away the stress and uncertainty of a nasty divorce.
If you find yourself facing a complicated family law matter, then you need the help of experienced family-law attorneys in Charlotte, North Carolina who can help guide you through the often confusing process of divorce. Please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today at (704) 370-2828 or find additional resources here.
About the Author
Matthew Arnold is a Managing Member of Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses on the areas of family law, divorce, child custody, child support, alimony and equitable distribution.
Mr. Arnold was raised in Charlotte, where he graduated from Providence Senior High School. He attended Belmont Abbey College, where he graduated cum laude, before attending law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship.
A certified Family-Law Specialist, Mr. Arnold is admitted to practice in all state and administrative courts in North Carolina, before the United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, and before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.
In his free time, Mr. Arnold enjoys golfing and spending time with his wife and three children.
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