Much time, money and energy is focused in many divorces on sorting out individual from marital assets. A solid prenuptial agreement can help delineate who gets what if the marriage ends. However, many couples would benefit by keeping at least some of their assets separate throughout the marriage. What may have begun as one person's individual assets going into the marriage, if commingled with the other person's assets, can make a fair division complicated in a divorce.
One of You Has More Assets Than the Other
When people go into the marriage with considerably more assets than their partner, their attorney will likely recommend that some of those assets remain in their name only. Of course, a prenup is also essential.
Even young couples just starting out may have this issue. If one person has received or is expecting a large inheritance, it may be wise to keep those funds or property in that person's name only. This can help ensure that if the marriage ends, the inherited assets remain in the family, as the person who left them to you likely intended.
One of You Is More Responsible with Money
Another case in which financial experts as well as marriage counselors recommend keeping some money separate is if one person is considerably more responsible with money than the other. This is also a good reason to consider a prenup. Different attitudes towards money are the source of friction in many marriages because one person sees his or her hard-earned money being spent in a careless manner.
However, just because one person is better with finances, that doesn't mean that he or she should maintain sole control over the couple's accounts. It's essential for both people to be aware of just what assets and debts they have. Too many people who let their spouse handle the money during the marriage find themselves left with virtually nothing when the marriage ends.
One or Both of You Owes Support
When one or both people have an ex-spouse, partner and/or children to whom support is owed, it's best to keep at least some funds separate to handle those obligations. It may be a legal requirement set by a court. If you have children whom you're still helping financially support and if you're saving for their college education, you can't risk losing it in a divorce.
Too many couples don't have the necessary discussions about money before they get married. By drawing up a prenup, your family law attorneys can help facilitate these important discussions.
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