Not all couples choose to draft and execute prenuptial agreements (prenups). In fact, some Virginia residents see the contracts as anti-romantic and do not want to impose such stark negotiations on their wedding plans. Those that have children from prior marriages, who own their own businesses or who have significant personal assets prior to getting married, though, may want to have prenups in place to protect their separate assets and needs.

Recently, readers of this blog may have become aware that Jeff Bezos, the CEO of online retail giant Amazon, and his wife filed for divorce. Bezos and his wife of 25 years will have a lot of work ahead of them because it has been reported that he alone is worth over $130 billion. But, the couple did not have a prenuptial agreement in place before they got married.

That means that the partners may have significant negotiations to undertake to untie their assets and find reasonable distributions of their property under the laws of the state where their divorce will move forward. In Virginia, marital property is divided based on the laws of equitable distribution.

It is possible that Bezos and his soon-to-be ex-wife entered into a marital agreement following their wedding. These agreements can serve the same functions as prenups. Yet, couples that are planning to marry may not want to immediately dismiss the utility of prenups in their relationships. Family law attorneys who practice in their communities may be available for consultation so that the couples may get important answers to their property and agreement-based questions.