Whether you’re already married and didn’t sign a prenup or you’re engaged to be married but choosing not to enter into a prenuptial agreement, there are still ways you can protect your assets without having a prenup in place.
Since money and financial decisions are frequent causes of marital disputes, it’s important to have open and honest conversations about how you want to jointly manage your assets (and liabilities). Also, throughout the course of your marriage, you should maintain good financial records.
Not only is this important for your ongoing financial well-being, but this type of documentation can also come into play if you divorce.
A prenuptial agreement, also known as a prenup, is a legal contract between two people before marriage. This contract outlines how marital assets, finances, and property will be divided during a divorce or separation.
Prenups can cover various topics, such as spousal support, property ownership, and debt responsibility.
Although often associated with the wealthy, prenups can benefit anyone who wants to protect their financial interests. They can also help couples converse openly and honestly about their financial situation before tying the knot.
Prenuptial agreements must be created with the help of a prenup lawyer and meet certain legal requirements to be enforceable.
While prenuptial agreements are a popular way to protect assets before marriage, they are not for everyone.
Fortunately, there are alternative solutions available.
Assets you had before the marriage are considered non-marital property (or “premarital property”). As long as marital funds don’t become co-mingled with non-marital funds during the marriage, this property will not be included in the equitable distribution of the marital estate in the event of a divorce.
That’s why maintaining the individual accounts you held prior to marriage is one way to avoid having your personal assets subject to equitable distribution during divorce.
Keep real estate separate by keeping the title in your name alone, and don’t use commingled money to maintain the property. Likewise, keep individual financial accounts and retirement assets as separate funds in your own name. Open a separate joint account to manage marital funds.
If you’re already married without a prenup, it’s not too late to sign a marital contract – it would just be considered a “postnuptial agreement.” These contracts are entered into any time after marriage and can be a way to make financial decisions prior to getting a divorce.
A trust creates an added layer of protection for your assets because they are generally not considered separate property from a couple’s marital property and are not subject to equitable distribution during divorce.
When you create a trust, you give another party (a trustee) the legal right to hold title to certain property or assets. Trusts can be used to protect an inheritance or individual assets during divorce, among other reasons.
For more information about how to protect assets without a prenup during marriage and divorce, let our team of Florida family law attorneys at Vasquez de Lara Group help. You can schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your specific concerns.