“Take this marriage thing seriously—it has to last all the way to the divorce.”
— Roseanne Barr
In relationships, each party brings their own assets and property to the marriage that they acquired before their legal union, and also accumulates assets and property while married. The assets and property owned by the individual prior to marriage is called separate property. Marital property, by default, is that property acquired during the marriage and to a certain extent, the increase in value on property acquired prior to the marriage.
Marital property is treated much differently during a divorce action than separate property. The courts presume all property is marital property and it is your job to prove otherwise. Meeting with an attorney can help you to explore the best way to distinguish your marital property from your separate property during your marriage.
Prenuptial agreements essentially allow you to rewrite the domestic relations law as it applies to your marriage and divorce. Prenuptial agreements are best used for addressing the financial concerns by defining separate property acquired before the marriage, defining and then dividing marital property in the event of divorce and addressing premarital and marital debts, temporary maintenance and spousal support. While a prenuptial agreement may address children-type issues, the court will still apply a best-interest analysis on parenting time and custody.
The Firm can help you explore if a prenuptial agreement is right for you, and can also discuss strategies for obtaining some basic protection in the potential event of a divorce should you elect not to sign a prenuptial agreement.
Postnuptial Agreements, like prenuptial agreements, are contracts used primarily to address financial issues in the event of a divorce. Unlike prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements are entered into after the marriage, are much more difficult to obtain from your spouse and require special care in showing consideration so that the postnuptial agreement does not fail on basic contract principals. If your marriage is on the rocks because of money matters, this may be the solution to addressing, and possibly resolving, those money matters.