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Planning can protect assets from divorce

Georgia couples thinking about marriage may consider it cynical to also plan for divorce while planning a wedding, but the high divorce rate makes it prudent to consider worst-case scenarios. Some consider it bad luck to even mention divorce, but those same people think nothing of carrying life and health insurance in case bad things happen. Divorce planning is no different.

Prenuptial agreements are commonly used for pre-marital divorce planning, but they are not the only strategy that can be utilized. Most observers would agree that a properly crafted pre- or post-nuptial agreement is the most effective asset management tool for individuals seeking to limit financial exposure from a potential failed marriage, but simply keeping separate assets can also be useful. If couples properly document the value of assets prior to marriage and keep them completely separate, there is some insulation from them being declared joint marital property. It can be easy to inadvertently torpedo such informal strategies with innocent mistakes. For example, using joint financial accounts to pay for upkeep on individually titled property can result in the property being considered a joint asset.

Estate planning can be made easier if property is held discretely rather than jointly. If a spouse adds a partner's name to a deed or title, an unexpected death can result in the surviving spouse landing in an unintended partnership with children from the deceased spouse's prior marriages. Record keeping is essential in any partnership, and this is also true in marriages. Keeping careful accounting of property brought into the marriage or inherited by one party is essential to asset management and protection.

There are numerous ways one or both parties to a marriage can protect their assets from an unwanted divorce. The best time to put safeguards in place is before acrimony from unintended circumstances begins to flow. Consulting a qualified family law attorney may help individuals receive insight and guidance for navigating asset management and any other divorce-related concern.

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Hecht Family Law
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