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No Prenup Puts $40 Million at Stake

Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey and his soon to be ex-wife, Jillian Fink, ironically filed for divorce during the same period when Dempsey’s TV wife, Meredith (played by Ellen Pompeo) gave him the push to relocate to Washington D.C.

Dempsey and his wife were married in 1999 and have three children together: a daughter and twin boys. While Hollywood divorces are by no means uncommon, it is uncommon to have such a wildly popular star to have said “I do” without first signing a prenup.

Today a growing number of Americans from all walks of life are signing prenups, but there may be a reason why Dempsey, along with other Hollywood celebrities, choose not to do so.

The Pros and Cons of a Prenuptial Agreement

One doesn’t have to look far to see just how a prenuptial agreement can be beneficial. In Dempsey’s case, having no prenup with his soon-to-be ex is putting his entire $40 million estate on the line and with no predictable outcome as to how it will be divided.

Prenups come with a host of benefits before, during, and after the marriage:

  • A prenup will keep all separate property separate (even property that is purchased during the marriage could qualify)
  • Prenups help both couples with estate planning
  • Couples have the opportunity to discuss and agree to what is marital property and what is communal property
  • A prenup can save a couple time and money during the course of a divorce, as well as limit conflict and confrontation
  • Couples can determine how all future matters will be handled. This includes child support, spousal support, and child custody

Why not opt for a prenup? These are the three most common reasons why people do not:

  • Prenups Aren’t Romantic: An individual often feels uncomfortable bringing up the topic of a prenup because it’s not romantic, or they fear their loved one will take it as a suggestion of their love not lasting “til death do us part”
  • Bad Timing: The time to bring up the idea of a prenup likely isn’t during a loved one’s birthday party or when they are receiving a promotion. But it is important for the couple to carve out some time to discuss the potential of a prenup and its benefits to them as a couple going forward
  • State Laws Offer Protection: Some states are “community property” states in which assets owned prior to the marriage are kept nicely separate, and those acquired throughout the marriage are then divided. The problem is that both spouses have no idea how it will be divided, and are leaving it to a third party who has no prior knowledge of them, or their needs, to decide

Those who are getting married and are concerned how it can impact their property and finances are best suited by consulting one of the experienced family law attorneys at Fischer & Van Thiel LLP. We welcome individuals as well as couples to join us for a free consultation session. Please give us a call today to schedule your appointment at (858) 935-6211.

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