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Prenups and postnups helpful in property division discussions

Prenuptial agreements are often considered necessary for only the wealthy or famous. Yet, many experts tout their usefulness for most California couples or any couple around the country. Agreements such as prenups can be very helpful in divorce proceedings when property division issues are being addressed.

A prenup is essentially a detailed list of who gets what should a divorce occur. However, matrimonial law advisers see the need for them in other situations. For example, if one spouse has debts that have been unpaid, joint accounts can be a target of creditors. Also, many estate planners recommend that some assets be maintained as separate property going into a marriage. If not specifically addressed in a relationship agreement, some assets can be viewed as marital property by the courts if any joint accounts are involved at all.

It is worthwhile for a couple to maintain different types of accounts. They may choose to have a joint account for family expenses. However, experts suggest keeping individual accounts if there are inherited funds or other assets that need to be maintained under one spouse's name. Property can also be an issue, particularly if a spouse with children from a previous marriage passes away.

Thorough record keeping is essential. One should make detailed lists of asset ownership when the marriage is starting and get any property appraised. An individuals should also maintain copies of wills, bank account statements or any additional financial documentation.

Prenuptial agreements can prove helpful when a divorcing couple starts to deal with property division. A California divorce lawyer can help a couple that is planning their marriage develop a prenup. If a couple is already married, a postnuptial agreement can address similar issues.

Source: Newsday, "'Postnups' and other asset protection for ordinary couples", Liz Weston, Feb. 16, 2018

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