Money Smart Athlete Blog

Getting married! Set up your financial relationship and let your love flourish.

Marriage is considered as one of the most important events in a person’s lifetime. Couples usually spend a lot of time planning every little detail, and may even hire a wedding planner to assist them through the whole process. What many couples choose to skip before “tying the knot”, intentionally or not, is setting their common financial future on the right basis.

Prenuptial agreements are a necessary legal step, to spell out a couple’s financial relationship before marriage. A prenup establishes the property and financial rights of each spouse during the relationship, as well as, in the unfortunate event of divorce. Contrary to popular opinion, prenups are not just for the rich, they are also essential for those who are about to come into a great deal of wealth, or work in a field where financial security fluctuates significantly from year to year: An athlete’s career has this exact characteristic, he or she can become a superstar overnight and return to being no one the very next day.

Although you have every right to be optimistic about the future of your marriage with your spouse, this shouldn’t be a factor in your decision to sign a prenuptial agreement or not. According to the U.S. Census Bureau about half of all first marriages among people under 45 end in divorce and the truth is that many professional athletes, such as Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant, have recently gone through high-profile divorces that ended in huge pay-outs. An estranged spouse can often get half of an athlete’s worth if they don’t have some sort of marital agreement.

Here are some reasons why a prenup is important for athletes of all levels:

  • Designate the passing of separate property to children from previous marriages – A marrying couple with children from previous marriages can use a prenup to clarify what will happen to their property when they die, so that they can pass on different and separate property to their children and still take care for each other, if necessary. In the absence of a prenup, the surviving spouse might be entitled to claim a great portion of the dead spouse’s property, leaving much less for the kids.
  • Set financial rights and responsibilities – Couples with or without children, wealthy or not, may simply want to set their financial rights and responsibilities during their married life.
  • Protect spouses from each other’s debts – Prenups can also be used to protect spouses from each other’s debt obligations, and they may address a number of other relevant matters as well.
  • Maintain privacy – In case a prenup is not in place, the divorce court will have to determine how a couple’s wealth will be apportioned, with the presence of the media inside the court room. As athletes are usually in the public eye, media interests will always be heightened.
  • Ease the divorce process- Couples may want to avoid potential disputes in the case of divorce, by defining in advance how their property will be divided, whether or not either spouse will receive alimony payment and how much, etc.


Of course, no one can guarantee that creating and signing a prenuptial agreement with your spouse is going to be an easy or a very romantic process. Discussions can bring uncomfortable differences in a couple’s expectations and values into the surface and you will have to be ready to deal with them.

You should prefer to consult a lawyer for advice and for drawing up the prenuptial agreement, so that it has greater legal recognition. The two parties should take separate legal advice before going into a prenup.

As difficult as it may seem, a prenup should be considered as an opportunity to build trust and provide the security and relief that allows the athlete and their future spouse to focus on the most important aspect of their marriage, loving each other!