Protecting property without a prenuptial agreement

When Texas couples decide to get married, many negotiate a prenuptial agreement in order to protect their assets in case they decide to get a divorce down the road. However, there are cases where couples do not wish to sign a prenup or one spouse refuses to sign. Even if couples decide against getting a prenup, there are still ways that a person can protect their assets.

One of the easiest ways that a person can protect their assets is to keep their assets separate. When many couples get married, they commingle the property and cash that they owned prior to the marriage. If they do this, the commingled assets becomes marital property that can be divided should the couple get divorced. It is also recommended that separate cash be used to pay for or maintain non-marital property; for example, if a person wishes to make improvements to a home that they own separately, it is recommended that they use non-marital cash.

Another recommendation for those wishing to protect their assets is to get a valuation of any businesses or property that was owned prior to the marriage around the time the marriage is scheduled to take place. This keeps the initial valuation as separate property, so an ex-spouse may only receive half of the increase. Finally, a person should keep records of any retirement accounts that they had prior to the marriage.

Going through the divorce can be difficult, especially if former couples must divide their property. A family law attorney may help one person determine what property is considered separate property, which is protected against being divided, and marital property, which may be divided between ex-spouses. The attorney may also assist with negotiating the division of marital assets that the person wishes to keep after the divorce.