Normally, problems arise with marriage contracts when those agreements don`t match the formalities required by state laws to ensure their validity, Walker said. Perhaps the agreement was reached under duress: if one party presented the agreement and required the other party to sign it just before the wedding date, the court may interpret this as evidence of coercion or a unilateral arrangement, she said. A good first step to protecting your current and future assets can be to keep your finances separate. In other words, keep your money in separate bank accounts, deposit taxes separately, buy your own real estate, etc. This can help the court determine who owns what or not. However, trying to slide without prenup could quickly expose you to some gross surprises in typical divorce proceedings. For example, lying about income to avoid family allowances is just one of the few unfortunate things that can happen during a divorce. A better question is how best to protect yourself in a prenup. A good marriage contract can help protect your property and protect you from debts incurred by your former spouse before marriage, said Nichole Walker, a senior fortune planner at the City National Bank`s San Francisco office. While this is not necessarily necessary and is rather an additional protection, I normally advise my clients to open new accounts. To use the example of your bank account, you can enter what is happening in your Citi Bank savings account at the time of your wedding and have $100,000 in an account. You can freeze these accounts, withdraw money, then open a new savings account, and then deposit and withdraw money during the marriage period. You still characterize this account as a marital account, but you make sure that this pre-marital account remains separate and that no judge, even in theory, can overcome your marriage contract on the issue of these funds.
If you have an account that remains in your name, even if you add money to that account during the time in a marriage, then it is still your separate property. Please meet with your close spouse and lawyer and discuss this openly. What assets are held serarately and what assets are treated as matrimonial property and why? Full disclosure of each party`s assets and debts. Decide how the property is purchased and titled during the wedding. Are you ready to mix wedding funds to buy assets? How is the commons distributed in the event of divorce? How are budget costs paid? How do you deal with personal debts incurred before marriage? Andrew Howie, an experienced family law lawyer who helps clients design marriage contracts, recognizes the benefits of openness and proactivity. No one wants to be sick or injured, but we always buy health insurance, says Howie.