How prenuptial agreements protect spouses’ interests in divorce
Most Americans who go through it, including Californians, consider divorce one of the most difficult events a person can go through in life. One reason why most people find the legal process so difficult is that they do not have a firm grasp on their finances and are not sure what separation and starting over will cost them. Fortunately, by following a few simple tips, they can protect their financial interests, especially during property division.
For stay-at-home spouses or those who gave up careers to look after children, divorce can be especially challenging if they do not know what marital property and assets are at stake. So the first tip is to find out all they can about their finances – from taxes to bank accounts and savings accounts to employee benefit packages.
Second, find out how much debt the marriage has. During divorce, these debts will be divided between the divorcing parties. Knowing the precise debt owed will help prevent unwanted surprises.
Third, if a prenuptial agreement was drafted and signed before the couple’s marriage, now is the time to bring it out and make sure to follow it. Prenups are honored as long as they are well written and have met certain requirements. Generally, prospective spouses create a prenuptial agreement to decide whether one of them will receive alimony or spousal support in the event the couple does divorce. Prenups also have two important property and asset determinations: first, what property is solely owned and not subject to property division; and second, how property and assets will be divided in case the couple splits.
These tips can help divorcing spouses face divorce with less stress and uncertainty. Regardless of whether finances remain a sticking point, spouses must remember to stay focused and see what positive things the future might bring.
Source: Go.com, “How to protect your finances in a divorce,” AJ Smith, March 31, 2014