Family Law: Gates’ apparently had no pre-nup. Here’s why you should consider one
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Social media has been abuzz in recent weeks with the announcement of Bill and Melinda Gates separation and the news that the billionaire couple had no prenuptial agreement, or what we call a financial agreement in Australia.
Wealthy or not, here’s why you should consider one:
● It can protect assets (i.e property, superannuation, etc.) you bring into a marriage, as well as isolate debts accrued prior to or during the marriage.● It can set out if spousal and/or child maintenance will be provided in the case of the relationships breakdown.● It can also cover other incidental issues, such as an anticipated inheritance and claims on the other party’s estate after death.
Financial agreements can be signed before, during or after a marriage or de-facto relationship has ended. The Gates’, for example, will split their property according to a ‘separation contract’ they drew up and agreed to before they announced their divorce.
Critical in this arrangement is that their split appears to be quite conciliatory. Throughout 25 years of practicing law it has always struck me how much personal wealth can be preserved by an amicable divorce. While it is not always possible, a conciliatory approach to family breakdowns will benefit your children, your hip pocket and your personal stress levels.
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