California couples planning a trip down the altar might also want to consider making contingency plans to safeguard against a failed marriage. The wisdom of having health and life insurance policies is unquestioned, and taking similar precautions regarding assets subject to future divorce litigation is becoming a more accepted way of thinking.
Even if a couple passes on creating a prenuptial agreement, that decision can be revisited. Postnuptial agreements are essentially the same thing, but they are executed after the marriage. Both documents are essentially a type of contract and equally binding if proper procedures are followed. Other strategies include maintaining individual as well as joint accounts. If finances are to be separate, the parties must be disciplined in keeping them that way because any commingling or mixing of the money can cause complications in divorce litigation. For example, if joint assets fund an individual account, it can be considered marital property. Similarly, if a joint account is used to provide maintenance or upkeep on an individually held property, the property can be later classified as a joint asset. Accurate recordkeeping is essential in every partnership, and marriages are no exception. If property, accounts or assets are brought into the marriage, having an accurate valuation at the time of the marriage can save headaches later. Inheritances or other gifts should be well documented and also kept separate.
Spouses should be especially judicious about adding names to individually owned property. In the event of a divorce or death, a host of unintended consequences could ensue. Inheritances should likewise be kept in separate accounts and not commingled.
There is nothing fun about divorce or planning for it, but having a solid plan for if a marriage fails can save people’s finances from ruin. Getting together with a good family lawyer to discuss possible strategies and outcomes is prudent for anyone entering a marriage.