Money Smart Athlete Blog

Protecting Assets and Family: Athletes and Pre-nuptial Agreements

Jul 12, 2023 | Divorce & Child Support

By Marianna Kazazi, The Sports Financial Literacy Academy

Considering athletes and their financial well-being, protecting assets and securing the future of their families is extremely important. Lucrative contracts, endorsements, and substantial wealth often accompany successful athletic careers and therefore, it is crucial for athletes to consider the importance of pre-nuptial agreements.

A pre-nuptial agreement is a legally binding contract entered into by couples before marriage, which outlines the distribution of assets, debts, and financial responsibilities in the unfortunate event of divorce, separation or death. These agreements are crucial since athletes can protect their assets and family in the face of uncertainty and they actually offer several benefits.

Specifically, since professional athletes often accumulate substantial wealth and valuable assets throughout their sports careers, pre-nuptial agreements safeguard their assets. By establishing clear guidelines for asset division in the event of a divorce or separation, these agreements ensure the protection of businesses, endorsement deals, real estate holdings, and other valuable properties from being exposed to costly and contentious disputes.

Additionally, preserving the earnings generated throughout their athletic careers, is paramount for athletes who put in years of hard work and dedication to succeed in their respective sports. Prenuptial agreements guarantee an even allocation of career earnings, enabling athletes to retain the financial benefits that reflect these years of sacrifices.

Guarding against the risk of financial exploitation is a major concern for professional athletes, who may become targets for those who view them solely as a source of wealth. By incorporating a prenuptial agreement into their marital arrangements, athletes can shield themselves from potential instances of financial exploitation. This proactive step helps to ensure that their partners are sincerely committed to the relationship rather than driven by personal gain.

Safeguarding the welfare of children and dependents is a crucial consideration for athletes who have offspring or dependents from previous relationships. Prenuptial agreements offer a valuable tool for securing their interests by establishing clear guidelines for financial obligations and provisions related to child support, custody, and inheritance. By addressing these aspects, athletes can ensure the well-being and long-term stability of their loved ones.

To create a well-crafted prenuptial agreement, it is recommended that athletes seek the assistance of skilled family law attorneys who possess expertise in handling cases involving individuals with substantial wealth. These legal experts can offer valuable guidance, navigate the intricacies of an athlete’s unique financial situation, and guarantee that the prenup is both legally valid and thorough. Transparently disclosing all assets, debts, and financial responsibilities is crucial for athletes, as it serves to safeguard them against potential disputes challenging the validity of the agreement in the future.

A few examples with athletes who managed to protect their worth through pre-nuptial agreements, include Kobe Bryant and Tom Brady. Bryant had an estimated net worth of over $600 million at the time of his tragic death in 2020, while having entered into a prenuptial agreement with his wife Vanessa Bryant prior to their marriage in 2001. This prenup granted Vanessa considerable financial resources, including properties and spousal support. Through this arrangement, Bryant successfully safeguarded a significant portion of his wealth, ultimately ensuring financial stability for both himself and his family.

Renowned as one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in the history of the NFL, Tom Brady is recognized not only for his exceptional performances on the field but also for his smart financial strategies. Prior to his marriage to supermodel Gisele Bündchen in 2009, Brady reportedly prioritized the establishment of a prenuptial agreement to protect his earnings and assets. This prenup served to safeguard Brady’s existing wealth while also ensuring that any future earnings accrued during their marriage would remain separate.

Another example, is that of retired NBA superstar Dwyane Wade. Known for his time with the Miami Heat, Wade had a prenuptial agreement in place when he married actress Gabrielle Union in 2014. The agreement reportedly addressed issues such as financial support for his children from previous relationships and the division of assets in the event of divorce. This prenup allowed Wade to protect the financial well-being of his children and maintain a harmonious family environment.

In conclusion, protecting assets and securing the future of loved ones is a wise and responsible move for athletes. Prenuptial agreements provide athletes with the means to safeguard their hard-earned wealth, maintain control over their career earnings and ensure the financial security of their families. Through real-life examples, we can see the positive impact that prenups have had in preserving assets and maintaining family harmony. By acting proactively and addressing these aspects through prenups, athletes can concentrate on their careers, experience a sense of security, and lay the foundation for a secure future.

The Money Smart Athlete® Blog is established and run by the Sports Financial Literacy Academy® (SFLA).  Through its education programs, the SFLA has the vision to financially educate and empower athletes of all ages to become better people, not just better athletes.  For more information on our courses, our SFLA Approved Trainer Program®, and how they can benefit you and your clients, please get in touch with us at [email protected].