It is rare that two people who are getting married will think about what could happen if they have to get a divorce. It is also unlikely that they will both come into the marriage with the same amount of money, belongings, and property. Sadly, some marriages do break down and if it happens to you it is important to know what will happen to the assets you brought to the marriage.
A lot of the time, anything that you owned before the marriage will stay yours, but you need to be aware that there are exceptions. You should check on the laws surrounding the specific assets you have and take advice from a divorce attorney.
What is classed as separate?
The court will decide exactly what will be divided, but normally will allow you to keep your private property, including:
Any property you owned before you were married
Gifts, regardless of where they came from
Anything that you inherited individually
Anything that you received as the result of a lawsuit.
Anything that you listed as belonging to you in either a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
This may make it sound as if everything is easily sorted, but there can be issues. It could be deemed that what was once your property has become joined property so you will need to get a divorce attorney to explain to you what to do to prevent this from happening.
What to do?
You should start planning even before the marriage takes place. A prenuptial agreement will let both sides agree to what they will retain in the event of the marriage failing. If you missed that boat, then see if your state recognizes postnuptial agreements as not all do.
If there is a business involved it is vital that the spouse is not involved with it in any way, and savings should be kept totally separate or they can be considered joint. If a partner pays into an account that you have held for years and had a lot of money in it, it can be considered joint from then on.
When a property is involved, it is important that anything spent on it uses money from a private account. If a joint one is used it can be seen as being jointly owned.
Make sure that your divorce attorney explains about passive and active changes. If there is a change to a property made by a spouse and the property increases in value that will be seen as active and they may be eligible for some of the money. If the increase is just due to a good market, then your property should remain just yours.
If you have any more questions concerning assets in a divorce, reach out to a divorce attorney like Hugh O. Allen Law Offices.