Planning ahead can save post-divorce finances

Posted by Lauren S. CohenMar 05, 20180 Comments

New York lovers headed for marriage may consider making contingency plans in case of divorce a bad omen, but the simple truth is that a substantial percentage of marriages end in divorce. Planning can limit acrimony and prove beneficial in ways unrelated to marital dissolution.

Pre-nuptial agreements are the first thing most people think of when pre-marital planning for divorce is mentioned. While both pre and post-nuptial agreements can be very beneficial to couples, they are not the only way to plan for difficult times. Maintaining separate assets and financial accounts can be very beneficial not just in divorce court, but can also protect a spouse from his or her partner's uncollected debts. Real estate can be particularly troublesome to disentangle if precautions are not made on the front end. For example, putting a spouse's name on a deed can result in a partnership with his or her heirs after an unexpected death unless proper estate planning is done. Paying for renovations from a joint account can result in property being later adjudicated as a joint asset.

As with any partnership, careful recordkeeping is wise for couples entering marriage. Having a detailed accounting of assets brought into the marriage, and their value at the time of marriage can save time and money in divorce court. Simply keeping account statements from the month before marriage can provide this documentation. If someone allows unfettered access to a personal account, it could be later considered a joint asset, so while transparency in financial matters is key to a happy marriage, limiting access is also very prudent.

Contemplating divorce at any time is stressful. Doing so before a marriage happens may seem counter-intuitive, but could prove incredibly helpful if things turn out less than blissful. Consulting with a qualified and experienced family law attorney even before marriage may prove beneficial to anyone seeking to protect themselves and their assets from undesired outcomes.