There are two principal ways to protect division of marital assets in divorce: premarital asset protection and post-marital asset protection.
Premarital asset protection involves a prenuptial agreement - also known as a premarital or ante nuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is a contract written by a couple before marriage that details the division of assets if there is a divorce.
Most states will enforce a prenuptial agreement if it follows the divorce laws in your state regarding marriage agreements. The divorce courts in states accepting prenuptial agreements will uphold the contract if the agreement is fair and includes all relevant information about assets. If the court believes that one party was forces to enter into the agreement under duress or coercion, the prenup will be thrown out.
Prenuptial agreements may be challenged for a number of reasons, including concealment of assets, fraud and coercion. In some cases, the divorce court may presume that one spouse intentionally concealed assets if the prenuptial agreement is grossly disproportionate.
If only one party is represented, the party challenging the prenuptial agreement may argue that he or she did not understand the terms of the agreement or entered into the agreement under duress. Each spouse may want to speak with separate divorce lawyers for advice on making a prenuptial agreement. One divorce attorney can't ethically represent both parties.
Even if you do not have a prenuptial agreement, there are some ways to protect your marital assets during the divorce process. A postnuptial agreement allows couples to make a contract after the marriage. Most states now accept postnuptial agreements, but there aren't many divorce governing how the divorce court determine the validity of agreements.
Postnuptial agreements are typically written when a couple has experienced a major change in financial circumstances. The agreement typically includes all marital debts and assets, income and expected monetary gain in the future. A local divorce lawyer can further advise you on what to include in a postnuptial agreement and whether the court will accept the contract.
With help from a divorce attorney in your area, you can learn how to make an asset protection plan that will be legal and effective during divorce. Get started protecting your financial future today by calling 877-349-1310 or filling out a divorce case review form to find a local divorce attorney.
The above summary of marital assets and divorce by no means all-inclusive and is not legal advice. For the latest information on marital assets, speak to a divorce attorney in your area.