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Prenuptial agreements and the billionaire pharmaceutical king

There has been a lot of talk on this blog about the importance of the prenuptial agreement. This is particularly true when you are dealing with couples that have significant wealth or considerable assets. In addition to creating financial security and protecting assets a prenuptial agreement can significantly expedite divorce proceedings, a process that can be quite long and tedious. New York residents might find the following story about prenuptial agreements helpful.

New York pharmaceutical giant Stewart Rahr is reportedly getting a divorce from his wife of 43 years. While Rahr has describe the divorce as amicable, it is difficult to foresee matters going smoothly, especially when you consider the size of Rahr's fortune. The pharmaceutical kingpin, who did not enter into a prenuptial agreement with his wife, is worth more than a billion dollars, most of which he acquired during the 2010 sale of Kinray Pharmaceuticals.

The effect that divorce can have on an individual's personal fortune can vary dramatically. There are a number of factors that play into property division, such as the length of the marriage, the amount acquired during the marriage, the state where the couple resides, and, most importantly, whether there is a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement not only allows for the efficient division of assets, but most importantly it can create certainty and manage expectations.

It is unknown as to why Rahr and his wife did not have a prenuptial agreement. Maybe he never expected to be rich and successful, or to get divorced, or maybe these types of agreements were not as common when he married his wife. In any case, his story emphasizes the very point that family law attorneys have been trying to make to their clients for years: everyone needs a prenuptial agreement. No one knows how things will end, but it is better to figure things out when you are happy and in love than when you are angry and resentful.

Source: Forbes, "Will Divorce Knock Stewart Rahr Off Billionaires List?" Caleb Melby, Dec. 4, 2012

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