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Jeff Bezos didn’t have a prenuptial agreement, but you can

Louisiana online shoppers might not have known anything about the founder and CEO of Amazon until recently, when Jeff Bezos made national headlines because of his upcoming divorce. While some of the focus has revolved around Amazon itself and how the company might be affected, there are also bigger questions. Jeff Bezos and his soon-to-be ex-wife, MacKenzie Bezos, never signed a prenuptial agreement, so the fate of the couple’s $137 billion is up in the air.

Although the Bezos couple plan to file for divorce in the state where Amazon is headquartered, there is a chance that their property will be divided in a similar manner as those who file in Louisiana. Both states are considered community property states, which means that in the eyes of the law all marital property is owned equally and must be divided as such. There is an exception to this, though. If a couple creates a pre or postnuptial agreement, they can usually divide marital property however they like.

Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos never signed a prenuptial agreement, but they could still have created a postnuptial. It is not uncommon for couples who previously chose to forgo a prenup to realize that they need some kind of protections in the wake of significant life changes. Things like the birth of a child, an inheritance or starting a business can prompt some couples to take action. Some couples even use postnuptial agreements to get themselves onto a better financial path.

The idea of bringing in legal documents strikes some Louisiana couples as distinctly unromantic, but this should not be an excuse to skip over this important family law protection. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help couples establish clear expectations for their marriage, define separate and marital property and address what will happen in the event that they divorce. Many couples are pleasantly surprised to find that taking these steps can also help them establish more open lines of communication.

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