The tech industry is a unique one. It has made multi-millionaires and billionaires out of people who came up with a unique idea in their college dorm room or killing virtual zombies in their parents' den. Silicon Valley, in Northern California, is the heart of the tech industry, but successful firms are located all over the country and throughout the world.

There have been some bitter and expensive divorces among people who made their money this way -- particularly those who got in on the tech bubble of the 1990s and sold their start-up companies for enough money to live in immense wealth for the rest of their lives. Many of these couples married when they had little money, so they didn't consider getting a prenuptial agreement.

Prenups and Community Property

In California, as in other community property states, unless there's a prenup in place, under the law, spouses can be required to split their assets 50-50. If one spouse founded a company that became wildly successful, while the other spouse worked in a relatively low-paying job to keep the couple afloat in the early days or stopped working to care for the children, the "successful" spouse may not feel that he or she should have to split that wealth if the marriage ends. Some couples stay in unhappy marriages because they don't want to give up half of their assets.

Things can be even more difficult if the couple divorces before a company has been sold. Most start-ups don't make their founders wealthy, and many don't even survive. If a company hasn't yet gone public or been sold to a buyer, determining how much its worth can be challenging, even if it has the potential to be extremely profitable.

Everyone Can Benefit from a Prenup

When one or both spouses have considerable assets going into a marriage or stand to inherit a good deal of money or property from their family, they're more likely to get a prenup than two people who have a dream of inventing the next Uber or GrubHub. One family law attorney who works in Northern California says, "Here you have people who have spent their entire lives playing video games. Nobody gets educated in prenups until you get divorced."

Regardless of what your financial situation is when you get married or what professions you and your spouse are in, no one knows what the future will be. Creating a prenup with the guidance of an experienced attorney well versed in division of property issues gives couples an excellent opportunity to discuss their goals, plans and expectations.

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