How To Protect Yourself When Divorcing Without a Prenup
What Happens If You Divorce Without a Prenuptial Agreement In Arizona?
Are you getting divorced and don’t know what to do with your finances? It can be a big deal if you didn’t make a prenup agreement with your ex-spouse. However, there are still ways to protect yourself even if you don’t have the prenup.
It’s always best to make a prenuptial agreement when getting married. After all, once you’re married, your savings and possessions are legally bound to your partner. However, since prenup is an uncomfortable topic to discuss, many couples avoid it, forgetting that it can make the financial decisions a bit harder if they get divorced.
To help you with this issue, a Mesa divorce lawyer shares below some tips to know exactly what to do.
What Is A Prenuptial Agreement?
A “prenup” is an agreement you make with your spouse before getting married. This agreement can protect your finances if you get a divorce in the future.
The prenup must be fair for both parties. You cannot prepare it only for you to benefit from it. Luckily, you can always contact a lawyer to learn more about it. Talking to your partner about this topic before getting married is also helpful, even if it makes both of you uncomfortable. It’s still a necessary matter when preparing a life together.
The prenup is the best way to reduce future problems between you and your spouse if you get divorced. By establishing clear limits for spousal support and asset division before getting married, you can protect your finances against your partner’s future debts.
With a prenuptial agreement, you can think about the financial and legal aspects of marriage before planning a big wedding.
Just remember that you and your spouse must sign the document declaring the prenuptial agreement at a notary or in front of a Phoenix family law lawyer.
Is It Necessary For All Couples?
Not necessarily. If you earn a lot of money, especially with inheritance or investments, then you may think about it. The same goes if you take care of elderly parents or children.
Nonetheless, if there’s not a big net worth difference between you and your spouse, then you may not need it.
Getting Divorced Without A Prenuptial Agreement
In this case, you have to decide how to divide your debts and property with your spouse. If you don’t do that, then a court will have to. You can follow these steps:
- Decide if the property or debt belongs to you or it is a separate item.
- Agree on the property value.
- Decide how to split it (making it fair for both).
In Arizona, the property belongs to each of you if you acquire it during the marriage (as long as it is not a gift or inheritance). That’s why Arizona is called a “community property state”.
It’s possible to change a community property into a separate property. If you combine marital property with separate property, then you may change assets into shared assets without having any idea of it. You can always talk to a Glendale family law attorney to understand these processes.
If you and your spouse are paying on expenses for a home, for example, a mortgage, then the house becomes marital property even if it’s owned by one of you. Some assets can also be partially community or separate depending on certain circumstances (for example, startups or businesses made by one partner).
How Can I Protect Myself Without a Prenup?
Here are some ways to protect your finances if you’re getting divorced without prenup:
Get a Postnuptial Agreement
A postnuptial agreement is similar to a prenup, with the difference that you prepare it after you’re married. Events like buying real estate or getting unemployed should be enough for signing a “postnup”.
Avoid Mixing Your Funds
Commingling may be a dream for some spouses, but it can also be risky. The best you can do to protect your finances is to never sign for a shared account, especially if you want to avoid losing half of your account if there’s a divorce.
Remember Retirement Account Assets
If you go into marriage with retirement account assets, then make sure you get them from the date of marriage (or divorce, if possible). You can get help with this by contacting a Gilbert divorce lawyer.
This process is helpful to prove how many retirement accounts you had before getting married. By doing this, the court may permit you to keep that amount and split the rest.
Avoid Combining Real Estate
It may seem practical to add your spouse to the deed, but remember that if you do this, you may lose half its value if you finish the marriage. You can remove their name from the deed later, but that won’t change much because the court will still presume your spouse owns half the real estate property.
Get Professional Help With A Phoenix Divorce Lawyer
As you can see, a prenup agreement sets everything out much easier, but it’s not the only way to solve your finances when getting divorced. Regardless of what you decide to protect yourself, it’s always helpful to contact a professional lawyer.
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