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Prenup asset protection evident in NFL star's High Asset divorce

It's much easier for some engaged Ohio couples to discuss wedding plans and honeymoons than it is to have a heart-to-heart talk about money. Many couples assume love is the only requirement needed to wed. While that may or may not be true for marriage, there's a lot more than emotions involved during divorce.

Prenuptial agreements have nothing to do with romance and everything to do with the protection of property interests. Many Columbus marriages last a lifetime but, for those that end in divorce, marital asset and liability choices must be made. A prenuptial contract gives couples the chance to negotiate property ownership terms in advance of marriage, so neither party faces future financial surprises.

Prenuptial agreements commonly are used to shield individual wealth. The contracts allow spouses to divide property the way they see fit, rather than follow the equitable distribution guidelines an Ohio judge would use in a divorce dispute. Prenuptial contracts must be fair, but the agreements also can be customized.

Kordell Stewart was a quarterback for the Cleveland Browns football rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The retired athlete was married 22 months to Porsha Williams, one of reality television's "Real Housewives of Atlanta." The couple signed a prenuptial contract, which was enforced upon their High Asset divorce.

Williams agreed she would forfeit alimony and health insurance and make no claim to the considerable assets the football player had before marriage including real estate, vehicles, and Stewart's NFL pension. Other than her income from the reality show, Williams was left with very little in the divorce. The ex-wife kept clothing and jewelry.

Marital property is equal to the assets and liabilities couples accumulate during marriage. Separate property, which is not divisible during divorce, includes individual property acquired before marriage. Prenuptial agreements can reinforce that equitable distribution formula or change it, depending on the wishes of the parties who sign the contract.

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "TMZ: Porsha Williams got no major assets from Kordell Stewart divorce" Rodney Ho, Mar. 12, 2014

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