Celebrity couple Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West announced last week that they are getting a divorce, after several months of speculation.
According to news sources, the Wests had a prenuptial agreement.
A prenuptial agreement, commonly referred to as a “prenup,” is a legal contract entered into before marriage or civil union that is unique to each couple, but typically addresses financial issues.
This legal document, negotiated and agreed to by both parties, can preemptively set forth how certain assets, including retirement funds, real property, executive compensation such as restricted stock units and businesses, are divided in the event of a divorce or legal separation.
For many couples, a prenup can serve as a road map for their financial partnership during the marriage.
As it appears that neither party is contesting the validity of the prenuptial agreement in this case, it will determine the division of assets and will likely make for a more amicable divorce, avoid unnecessary litigation and foster co-parenting for the sake of the children.
But here is a different example:
Supermodel Paulina Porizkova was in the midst of a divorce from Ric Ocasek when he died in 2019. She recently spoke out about the fact she did not have a prenup, and what that meant in her particular situation.
Regretting she had no prenup, she shared that her then-husband considered a prenup a “bad omen.” She also had felt that discussions about finances were “unromantic” at the beginning of their marriage.
After her husband died, she found herself left in dire straits without access to assets.
According to media reports, Ms. Porizkova said, “I had two mortgaged houses and the pension, but no way to pay for anything. So obviously things had to be sold, but until they got sold, I had nothing to live on. I literally went through a year of asking my friends to buy us groceries. It was not a good position to be in.”
Ms. Porizkova continued on to say that “she feels as though the hardships she went through were ‘easily preventable’ and were ‘based on my own stupidity.’ She also stressed that she didn’t have ‘an evil husband’ and that nothing ‘conspired against’ her, and said she has no one to blame but herself.”
As you well know, I almost always advise newly engaged couples to Propose a Prenup. The very act of working through a prenuptial agreement allows you and your future spouse to better understand one another’s financial circumstances before tying the knot. It allows you to commence thinking of your future relationship as a legal and financial partnership.
After all, in addition to love, family and of course romance, there is also the practical reality of marriage—it is a contractual relationship under the law that accompanies certain financial obligations.
For those who worry that asking for a prenup might jeopardize their relationship, I offer an alternative view. In my opinion, oftentimes it is the lack of financial transparency that places a relationship in jeopardy. Truth and transparency as well as the ability to have open discussions about you and your spouse’s financial goals, your assets and liabilities will provide a strong foundation for a healthy and happy marriage.
Let’s not overlook that many marriages end because of financial disagreements. It is so much better to have these discussions be part of your relationship from the beginning.
Even if you have a marriage that stands the test of time, which I hope for you, I truly believe you will be happy you went through the process of preparing a prenup, so that right from the start, your relationship is transparent, which provides a foundation for a more stable, deeper union.