As your wedding date neared, many thought raced through your mind as your body was rushed with emotions. While excited about starting your newly married life, you had anxieties about your day going perfectly. Even more, thoughts about marriage in general surged through your mind. What if it doesn’t last? How will divorce impact you?
Preparing for divorce
The thoughts of divorce before you even tie the knot are not pleasant. The idea of it is challenging to digest, which is why you and other couples intending to marry take a prenuptial agreement off of the table. Today, a prenup is considered a sensible and highly important step to take during the wedding planning process; however, it is a step that both partners must agree to and see eye-to-eye on.
Whether you are the partner that is pushing for a prenup or is completely against the idea of it, it should be understood that there are other strategies to help protect your assets if a divorce were to happen down the line.
Protecting assets without a prenup
If you cannot agree to a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage, there are still ways to go about protecting a family business, family legacy assets and assets each partner acquired before marriage. While this could look like including a postnuptial agreement in the union after marriage, it could also look like taking the following six steps.
First, if a partner seeks to keep separate property separate, then it is important to maintain titles to real property. Keep all separate property titled in your name, place all gifts in a separate account and do not contribute to marital property with funds from a separate account. A joint account should be used for household and family expenses.
Next, document the values of all assets prior to the wedding. Third, create a trust. It can be very valuable to create a revocable trust or a domestic asset protection trust. Although these are not asset protecting vehicle, they can help segregate and identify assets as being separate property.
Fourth, have all inheritances held in a trust. This is especially important if a partner expects an inheritance from family. Next, if a family business exists, create an agreement that restricts ownership of the business. Finally, if there is an unwritten policy that requires family members to enter into a prenuptial agreement, then put that policy in writing, along with the reasons for it.
Divorces can be messy and complicated; thus, it is important to consider ways to reduce the financial and emotional blow this event could be. Consider your options, such as entering a marital agreement, along with other steps to protect yourself and your assets during dissolution.