Protecting assets from divorce is a critical step when you go through a divorce.
Divorce can be an ugly undertaking; the last thing you need is to get ruined in the aftermath. You want to make sure you can keep your property.
There are some steps you can take to protect your finances. You need to know what you can keep during a divorce and what will get split between you and your spouse.
A skilled divorce attorney can help you navigate your divorce. You can keep much of your property. Our team at The Rosenblum Allen Law Firm can help protect your property.
We will show you steps you can take to protect assets from divorce. This advice will aid you in making sure you protect your property rights.
The Difference Between 'Separate Property' and 'Marital Property
When you enter a marriage, there are two types of property. There is separate property and marital property. Both of these terms refer to income, assets and debts.
Marital property refers to assets, income, and debt accumulated during a marriage. This can include real estate, investments, and retirement funds. It can also include tax debts, credit card debts, mortgages and loans. Anything acquired during the marriage might be considered marital property.
Many states divide the marital assets 50-50. However, both spouses can create an additional agreement either before or during the marriage about dividing property differently. Likewise, during divorce proceedings, parties can agree to split their marital assets in a way that is not 50/50.
Only one person in the marriage owns separate property. This ownership includes assets or debts acquired before marriage. These assets are your property and will not get divided between spouses. Separate property may include a car bought before marriage, retirement benefits earned before marriage or student loans debt taken prior to the wedding.
During marriage, by law, separate property also includes inheritances or settlements awarded to only one spouse. Any property given to you by an agreement, like a prenup, can also be classified as separate property. In most cases, you will be able to keep your separate property upon divorce.
You and your spouse can agree on whether an asset gets considered separate property. In some cases, spouses disagree on what marital property is and what individual property is. Thus, a judge can look at the evidence to make a ruling.
In a community property state, assets often get divided 50-50. In these states, one name on an investment is not enough to deem something separate property. In some cases, individual and marital property get commingled. In these situations, you can claim some assets as your personal property.
Figuring out what is separate property and what is marital property can be confusing. It can also add stress to an already stressful situation. Seek the help of a trained divorce attorney. They will be able to guide you through the steps and tell you what to do next.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
An option for protecting your assets from divorce is prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. These types of arrangements help specify the property. It can also determine how assets will get divided in case of divorce. Many people view these agreements as putting doubt on your marriage. But, while it may be unlikely, in the case of a divorce, this can save you a lot of stress and anxiety.
A prenuptial agreement is a document created before you get married that outlines the terms of a divorce. A postnuptial is a similar agreement made after the marriage has taken place.
There are several factors that couples consider when entering these agreements. These include:
- The reality of the high divorce rate in the United States
- A significant disparity in each spouse’s assets and debts
- Both spouses have a career.
- Professional reputation is a concern (these agreements can have includes clauses about confidentiality)
- One spouse received a large inheritance.
- There is a drastic change in one or both spouses’ income.
A prenuptial and postnuptial agreement can ease the process of a divorce. Divorce can be long and drawn out. Having a prenup can help speed up the process, because who will get what is already decided.
Here are some ways having a prenup can help if you divorce:
- Division of property. You and your spouse can determine how you will divide marital assets and debts.
- Spousal support. You can determine the amount of the alimony payments. You can also agree on the duration that these payments will get made.
- Business interests. If you and your spouse own or invest in a business, these agreements can help determine ownership. You may also decide how to divide how the assets will get divided.
- More terms the couple wishes to address that do not violate any public policy.
In most cases, prenups and post-nutpial agreements do not include child support and custody.
These agreements help in protecting your assets from divorce. It would be best if you spoke to an attorney to establish your goals. They can ensure that you and your spouse have a satisfactory agreement. The goal is to benefit both of you in the case of a divorce.
You can also enter into a separation agreement or marital settlement agreement. This agreement can speed up the divorce process, and both spouses can determine any financial factors of your divorce. These are legally binding agreements and can help mitigate the divorce process.
Real estate is a significant asset in any marriage. This can include the family home as well as property investments. You may have rental property or own a business. One area of dispute in a divorce is who gets this property.
Deciding who gets real property may depend on when the property was purchased. It could be considered separate property if purchased before the wedding. But, some circumstances can make the real estate marital property. In these cases, the court will likely divide marital property right down the middle.
The best way of protecting your assets from a divorce is to keep the real estate in your name and not to commingle funds to pay the debt on any real property. Keep the income in a separate account from any joint accounts. The sole ownership gets dissolved if any benefits from this property are shared.
The easiest way to settle marital property in real estate is to agree to sell the property. A dispute over real estate will need a judge to make a ruling. You can have an attorney work on mediating how the profits from the sale of the real estate will get split. This strategy allows each spouse to walk away and have a fresh start.
Steps to Protect Your Money
There are several steps when protecting your assets from divorce. Some of these are common sense, while others you may have yet to consider.
- Hire a divorce attorney. Choose an attorney that has the experience and know-how to represent you. They can often mediate financial disputes and make the divorce process less stressful.
- Open accounts in your name only. Shared bank accounts can cause extra difficulties during a divorce. If you have a shared bank or credit card account, you could be on the hook if your spouse goes on a spending spree. It is advisable to freeze joint spending accounts and open new ones in your name. This tactic is vital if you need a car loan or mortgage.
- Take an inventory of assets and debts. It would be best to disclose your money and its spending. Make copies of all important financial documents. Also, take notes of any non-marital property.
- Track your cash flow. Determine your monthly and yearly expenses. This liability can also include alimony and child support. Make a list of all your debts and income. Doing this will help you to plan your finances after the divorce.
- Sort our mortgages and rent payments. You and your spouse may agree on who gets to keep the family home. While you may want to move out sooner rather than later, it can hurt your claims. Often, the best option is to sell the house and split the profits. This move allows both parties to get a fresh start.
- Be prepared to share retirement accounts. Your retirement accounts are often considered community property. In that case, your spouse is entitled to part of that money. You can negotiate this during the divorce proceedings.
- Change your will. It is good advice to change the language of your will immediately after a divorce. In most states, former spouses get excluded from any benefits.
Should You Hire an Attorney?
You need help in protecting assets from a divorce.
If property is involved in your divorce, a divorce attorney can help.
If you realize that you got a bad deal after the divorce gets settled, there is little you will be able to do.
A skilled attorney like the ones at the Rosenblum Allen Law Firm can help you get the best deal possible.