This may be a cynical way to think but even if you are totally in love, you may want to get your finances ready for what will happen if you and your spouse end up getting a divorce. No one goes into a marriage thinking they will get one but every 36 seconds, a divorce is processed in the United States. That translates to 876,000 divorces every year. It has been estimated that 41% of all first marriages will end in a divorce. So even happy couples can benefit from talking to a family law attorney before things so south for their relationship.
Business Insider has put together a number of things couples should do to get their finances in order so they can be in a better position if they do end up ending their marriage. They say that going to a family law attorney to get a prenuptial agreement is one of the smartest things couples can do before they get married. This is a good way for both people to protect their assets should divorce attorneys ever be called in.
Ginita Wall, a financial planner located in San Diego, California says that planning for a divorce is a lot like wearing a seatbelt. No one expects to be in a car accident and then need a personal injury law firm but they wear their seatbelts just the same.
Carl Soranno, a family law attorney in Roseland, New Jersey, says that planning for a divorce with a prenuptial agreement can help couples for other reasons. When one person in the couple has a problem with debt, their creditor can target any assets that are owned by the couple. He says that even rock-solid marriages can be hurt by outside pressures, such as when creditors come calling.
Another reason to work out a couple’s finances with a divorce in mind is that it can do a lot to help with any estate planning that needs to be done. Having each person maintain their own assets, in separate accounts, can make the process of setting up trusts for children a lot easier, for example. If one of the spouses should pass away, they can make sure their assets go to the children and not a person the surviving spouse marries.
Here are some other tips:
- Keep your accounts separate. It may seem like the natural order of things to have a joint bank account but there are a number of good reasons to keep them separate. It may not be as convenient as having everything in a joint account but if one person receives an inheritance or some other funds, they may want to open an account specifically for that money. There are ways to make it easier to pay bills that both people have the same responsibility for with separate bank accounts.
- Pay attention to real estate deeds and titles. If you own real estate together, that is a time when having one joint account can help. One problem that can arise if one of the partners dies is that children from a past marriage may end up owning some property that was owned by both spouses, say family law attorneys.
- Always make sure you have great records of absolutely everything. When you get married, you probably have a good idea of what assets you have at the time. Keep the records for your retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, and any bank accounts that you have on your own. If you are the owner of a business or have real estate, you need to keep the documentation for that. You may want to go as far as to have any property or other valuables appraised by an expert before you get married.
- Get prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. You may not have heard of postnuptial agreements but they can be very helpful, say family law attorneys. They are drawn up after the wedding. They will come in handy if you both want to divvy up your property in a different manner, say attorneys at law.
Going into a marriage with a divorce plan in place can help you protect your finances should the unthinkable happen.