Preparing for Divorce Before the Wedding
Entering a marriage without the proper financial protection is never a smart move for an engaged couple. With approximately half of all marriages ending in divorce, many individuals find themselves at a financial disadvantage when dissolving their marital union. By preparing for the possibility of divorce prior to getting married, couples can ensure they are properly protected should the marriage not work out.
Importance of Record Keeping
Many states allow individuals to retain assets acquired before the marriage in the case of a divorce. To avoid later disputes over when an asset was first acquired, individuals should keep accurate and detailed records, including copies of monthly bank statements from at least one year prior to the marriage. Any documents that prove the assets were never commingled with marital assets should also be saved for the length of the marriage. This is especially important for couples divorcing after a long marriage as it can become difficult to obtain bank records after a certain number of years have passed.
Establishing New Marital Accounts
Married couples should open new bank accounts in both spouses’ names to differentiate between marital property and a spouse’s separate premarital property. If a spouse deposits funds into an account after the marriage occurs, even if the account was set up prior to the marriage, that account becomes part of the marital estate. Even if the owner of that separate account continues to be the sole manager of the account during the marriage, it will still become marital property, which may be equitably distributed between the spouses.
Signing a Prenuptial Agreement
Prenuptial agreements are not only meant for individuals with significant assets. While it is important for a spouse entering into a marriage with substantially more assets to protect themselves financially in the event of a divorce, even couples with comparable net worth should consider signing a prenuptial agreement. This legal contract can address any debts that may be acquired during the marriage, which becomes significant when one spouse has student loans. The distribution of family heirlooms or other sentimental items in the event of a divorce also can be addressed with a prenuptial agreement.
Consult with Experienced Legal Counsel
The financial circumstances of each engaged couple are unique. By consulting with an experienced divorce lawyer prior to the wedding, individuals can ensure they consider all the financial impacts of their upcoming marriage. Legal counsel can help with drafting prenuptial agreements and help engaged couples navigate the legal implications of commingling bank accounts, retirement savings, and other assets. By understanding what will happen in the event of a divorce prior to the marriage, spouses will have all the information they need to set financial goals both individually and as a married couple.
Bucks County Divorce Lawyers at Freedman and Lorry, P.C. Help Clients Through the Divorce Process
Going through a divorce can be a stressful experience. If you have concerns about the divorce process, our experienced Bucks County divorce lawyers at Freedman & Lorry, P.C. understand the importance of protecting your financial rights during this difficult time. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Pinehurst, North Carolina, we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania. To schedule a free consultation today, call us at 888-999-1962 or submit an online inquiry form.