Can You Protect Your Money if You Don’t Have a Prenuptial Agreement?
Just about everyone has some kind of valuable asset before they enter a marriage. Most of the time when two people marry they simply combine all their assets and treat them as equal ownership. In other words, for most things couples drop the “yours” and “mine” labels and adopt the “ours” label. This can be the healthiest option for most couples as they begin a life together. However, it can also be a problem for those couples that end their marriage prematurely. Unfortunately, many couples divorce and that’s when the “ours” label can become an issue.
There is always the option to set up a prenuptial agreement when you get engaged, but for many couples that idea is not acceptable. So what can you do if you want to protect your assets but you don’t have a prenup? One step you can take is to keep your pre-marital assets separate. Any funds or accounts that you have before marriage can remain yours if you don’t combine accounts, add marital funds to the account or add your spouse’s name to the account. The same goes for any real estate property you own. If you put your spouse on the deed then it becomes marital property. You should also take care of that property with non-martial funds since it is considered non-marital property.
Another situation that can become very contentious during divorce is when there is a business involved. If it is a joint business, then you will have to go through the division process. However, if you owned the business before the marriage it’s a good idea to get a valuation on the business at the time of the marriage. This could protect you if you end up getting a divorce. If the value of your business increases during the marriage, you could still prove how much it was worth before you got married and thus a judge could rule that your spouse is only entitled to half of the difference, instead of half of the total value.
No one ever really wants to have to meet with a Grand Rapids divorce attorney, but the fact is many marriages end prematurely and people do split up. Prenuptial agreements are a great way to protect your assets should divorce occur, but many people frown on the idea. Still there are others who might not even consider a prenup because they feel that prenups are only for the very wealthy. In reality, anyone who has valuable assets that he or she wants to protect could consider a prenuptial agreement. On the other hand, if a prenup is not an option, then some of these other steps can help people protect what’s theirs. Bottom line, take action now to avoid potential issues in the future.