- If you are considering marrying someone who is in legal or financial trouble, there is a lot of legal planning you should do before walking down the aisle.
- Below are the best types of protections spouses can take when they marry someone who’s in legal or financial trouble.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the disgraced blood-testing startup Theranos, reportedly married her fiancé Billy Evans in a secret wedding ceremony recently.
Not much is known about the relationship between Holmes and Evans, a 27-year-old heir to the California hospitality group Evans Hotels.
But speculation immediately arose as to why they got married, including a theory from Vanity Fair’s Nick Bilton that Holmes needed access to Evans’ money to pay her legal bills. The entrepreneur is facing numerous federal charges of fraud related to Theranos, which was once valued at $9 billion before reports revealed it was based on faulty science. Following the reports, Holmes’ net worth plummeted from $4.5 billion to zero, according to Forbes.
Could marriage be the answer to her legal and financial woes? That depends on what kind of legal planning — if any — went on before the pair walked down the aisle.
We asked experts what kind of protections spouses can take when they marry someone who’s in legal or financial trouble.
Here’s their best advice for people in that situation.
Make sure you have a full understanding of the legal and financial issues
To start, have an open conversation with your soon-to-be spouse about the nature of their financial or legal issues, what led to them, and how they intend to address them. Also, have an understanding of what the consequences will be for your spouse and potentially for you.
"You should then consider reviewing all legal documents relating to the troubles and obtain your own counsel to see what the troubles may mean for you," Kelly Frawley, a lawyer focused on matrimonial and family law, told Business Insider.
Consider exchanging recent credit reports
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Consider exchanging recent credit reports with your partner.
"This will help you see firsthand whether he or she has a history of financial irresponsibility that might have led to the current troubles or whether it’s the result of aberrational behavior," Frawley said.
Consult with matrimonial counsel about what impact the trouble may have on the marriage
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This consultation should not only cover financial issues, but possible custodial issues as well.
"During the same consultation, you should also ask in what ways a prenuptial agreement can protect you — or not — in the event of a divorce," Frawley said. "As soon as you know you intend to marry, you should become educated about what can be achieved by having a prenuptial agreement.
"If you decide you will only marry if a prenuptial agreement is executed by you and your partner, then you should find out right away whether your partner will agree to sign one with terms protecting you from his or her troubles."
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