YUMA, Arizona. When it comes to protecting your assets when going into a new marriage, couples have two major options: revocable trusts and prenuptial agreements. Under the law, if you get divorced, any assets that have been acquired during the marriage are generally considered community property and subject to division. While assets that you bring into the marriage are generally considered separate, over time, the waters can get muddy. For example, if you and your partner merge bank accounts or pay off each other’s debts, it can be difficult to separate what you earned together from what you earned before the marriage. A prenuptial agreement or a revocable trust can clarify some of these questions and doubts.
A prenuptial agreement will clearly state which debts are separate and which debts will be shared. Additionally, couples can stipulate which assets and accounts are shared property and which will be separate. While it may seem clear that an account with your name on it is yours, it might not be considered clear in court should you get divorced, especially if you put money into that same account after your marriage. A prenuptial agreement can outline how much each of you brought into the marriage, so that if you get divorced, it is clear that you’ll at least take that amount out, if it is available.
Another option is a revocable trust. According to the Nest , this is a clearer way to keep assets separate that you may want to keep separate. Couples may choose to use trusts rather than prenuptial agreements because there is less stigma attached to them. Couples who have received inheritance or couples who have earned money prior to the marriage may choose to set up individual trusts for each partner to clarify who owns what.
However, it is important to be careful when using a trust. If you put any money into the trust after you get married, your partner could have a claim on the trust should you get divorced. This is where a prenuptial agreement can help clarify matters. However, it is important to seek legal advice should you plan to put a prenuptial agreement in place. Prenuptial agreements must be carefully drafted. There are many ways in which a prenuptial agreement can be declared invalid by the court—from one or both parties’ failure to be represented by legal counsel to claims of duress. If you are thinking about putting a prenuptial agreement in place, consider speaking to the divorce lawyers at Schneider & Onofry, P.C. in Yuma, Arizona. We can review your unique financial and legal circumstances and help you draft a prenuptial agreement that can withstand the test of court. However, don’t wait until right before you get married to draft a prenuptial agreement. Doing so, could render your agreement invalid because one or both parties can claim that they were forced to sign the agreement under duress. The time to plan for your financial future is after your engagement, not weeks before you get married.
Schneider & Onofry, P.C.
207 W. 2nd St. Yuma, AZ 85364