“Most people think 50% of marriages end in divorce,” Basel Jamra said at the outset of his Saturday afternoon breakout session at FPA Retreat 2013 in Palm Springs, Calif. “It’s actually 60% for first marriages and 65% to 70% for second and third marriages.”
Pre-nups, he related to the advisors in the audience, “are no different than other forms of hedges you use for your clients.”
His partner in the law firm of Jamra and Jamra, Grace Jamra, noted that courts have complete discretion in forcing clients to liquidate in order to fund and/or settle divorce proceedings, which is a reason pre-nups are so important.
Who needs a pre-nup? “Anyone who wants to avoid the unintended and unforeseen liquidation of assets due to a divorce and anyone who wants to avoid a protracted divorce proceeding,” Basel said. “This means many of your clients, and we rely on your help when putting them together.”
Pre-nups are especially important for anyone with assets prior to marriage or anyone coming into an inheritance at some later date.
“Two 18-year-old high school sweethearts with no assets that want to build a life together probably aren’t candidates for a pre-nup,” he added.
The duo related the case of a client who inherited $7 million when his father died suddenly. The client was in his late 20s and was marrying someone who was also in their late 20s. He made about $80,000 a year and she did well as a lawyer, with income of $300,000 a year, although she had no assets.