Can You Protect Your Assets Without Getting a Pre-Nuptial Agreement?

Pre-nuptial agreements are created prior to marriage as a way to protect individual assets from equitable distribution in the event of divorce, but what happens if you don’t have a prenup in place? Can you still protect your assets, property or investments should you choose to divorce? 

Florida Statute §61.075 sites that any assets acquired during marriage (regardless of who made the contribution) are subject to equitable distribution. If you don’t have a pre-nuptial agreement in place, yet you would like to protect your individual assets, you still have options. Some to consider include:

  • Opt for a post-nuptial agreement – Rather than an agreement entered into prior to marriage, post-nuptial agreements are created after a couple is married. They can be used as a way to help couples resolve finances prior to getting a divorce, especially with respect to things like business ownership, spousal support and equitable distribution of assets and debts.
  • Retain separate pre-marital accounts – Rather than co-mingling all of your assets once you get married, keep your individual accounts separate if you want to be able to retain that account after divorce. If you combine all of your accounts and assets during marriage, they will become marital property (and thus subject to equitable distribution).
  • Keep real estate (and other property) separate – To protect a real estate investment, it’s important to keep the property titled in your name only and to use separate funds when improvements are needed. Don’t tap into marital funds to maintain the property. 
  • Conduct a business valuation – If you are a business owner, you should know the value of your business at the time of marriage. Then, if the business value appreciates while it is co-mingled, you retain some protection during divorce.

With everything, it’s important to maintain good records of your financial documents, especially those accounts and assets accrued prior to marriage and any non-marital assets acquired during marriage.  Staying organized may make it easier for the court to determine which assets are deemed marital and which are individual. 

For more questions about pre-nuptial agreements, post-nuptial agreements or any other Florida family law concern, please get in touch with us at the Vasquez de Lara Law Group.

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