How to Protect Separate Property in the Event of a Divorce

How to Protect Separate Property in the Event of a Divorce

When you are in a state of bliss during a pending or current marriage, the last matter you may be contemplating is what might happen to your separate property in the event of a divorce.

The best way to avoid any confusion regarding separate property is to be aware of the conditions surrounding the separate property and to act prior to a potential divorce.

Defining Separate Property

Separate property can include cars, homes, boats or RVs, jewelry, stocks, bonds, gifts, inheritance, or other. This property has been acquired by one spouse with his or her own funds or through a gift or inheritance either before the marriage or after the date of separation and not commingled with marital funds.

Separate property can also include gifts by a third party during a marriage or money received by one spouse for pain and suffering from a personal injury lawsuit.

Once the property has been commingled, the property is no longer considered separate, and California courts may decide to distribute the property equally between the spouses.

How Can I Protect My Separate Property in the Event of a Divorce?

Consider establishing a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement.  A lawyer who specializes in pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements can help you draft an agreement that protects you and your assets or advise you about one that you might be asked to sign.  For tips on whether you need a pre-nuptial agreement, read our blog, Deciding Whether a Prenuptial Agreement is Right for You and Your Partner.

Keep separate accounts.  In the event one spouse has received money or inheritance, that property would still be considered separate property as long as the funds are deposited in a separate account.

Contact Mendes Weed, LLP for Help with Your Divorce

Mendes, Law PC is able to help you with matters pertaining to your divorce. Located in Walnut Creek, we serve clients in the surrounding areas including Danville and Alamo. Contact us for more information.

Disclaimer: The tips and materials provided in this email are for informational purposes only, offered as public service. No information in this email should be considered legal advice or used as a substitute for legal advice. For legal advice, you should contact an attorney directly.

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Deciding if a Pre-Marital Agreement is Right for You and Your Partner

Deciding if a Pre-Marital Agreement is Right for You and Your Partner

Getting married and planning for your future with your life partner is an exciting and romantic time. Planning for your future with a pre-marital agreement, while not as exciting and romantic, is something that you should consider equally important.

What is a Pre-Marital Agreement and Why Would I Consider One?

A pre-marital agreement is a legal document signed prior to marriage that establishes the assets, property, and or financial rights of a couple in the event of a divorce. Done properly, with the advice and guidance of a lawyer, a pre-marital agreement assures that each party leaves a marriage with the assets he or she entered the marriage.

People who sign a pre-marital agreement understand that the property and finances they own prior to getting married will be theirs in the event of a divorce. Similar to a business deal, a pre-marital agreement secures each partner’s current assets will not be divided or split if the marriage is terminated.

While a pre-marital agreement causes many to feel insecure or to doubt that a marriage might not work out, it also provides relief.  If you and your partner are open and aware of the future of your assets, you eliminate one of the biggest arguments in a marriage: finances.

In the event your marriage ends in divorce, you also eliminate the need to haggle over finances and who owns what, since you already considered that prior to your marriage. Another benefit is that it is easier to discuss these subjects when you are in love and working together as a team, rather than when you are frustrated with each other and going through the divorce process.

What to Include in a Pre-Marital Agreement?

While the law dictates what can and cannot be included in a pre-marital agreement, it is in your best interest to contact an attorney who specializes in pre-marital agreements.

Here are some common subject matters you may want to include in your pre-marital agreement:

  • Family property
  • Considerations for existing children from previous marriages
  • Retirement benefits
  • Property division to the surviving spouse
  • Financial decisions regarding purchases
  • Investments
  • Management of financial spending, including credit cards and bills
  • Allocation of support in the event of a divorce
  • Savings
  • Agreements pertaining to debt

 Consider Hiring an Attorney for Help with a Pre-Marital Agreement

While a pre-marital agreement may not be the right answer for everyone, it might be something to consider.  If you have questions or concerns, want a lawyer to look over your existing pre-marital agreement, or just want more information, visit our website.  Or feel free to contact us.

Mendes Weed, LLP, Walnut Creek

If you or anyone you know needs help with family law, divorce, custody, civil harassment, restraining orders, or premarital agreements, we may be able to help. Contact our office today for your pre-marital and other family law needs. We have offices in Walnut Creek, Sacramento, and San Francisco.

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Lisa Janine MendesReviewsout of 5 reviews
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Christina Weed - Taxation Law Specialist
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