Berman & Asbel, LLP

Keeping personal assets secure without a prenup? It's possible

There can be a great deal of value for a couple to have either a pre- or post-marital agreement in place as a means of protecting personal assets in the event they go their separate ways. Whether the couple is heterosexual or of the same sex, individuals these days often bring a lot of personal assets with them into the union.

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help make things much easier to separate should the relationship end in divorce. But there may also be ways to provide cover to assets without a formal agreement. To learn about all the options and decide what is most beneficial for your particular situation, it's always best to consult with an attorney you trust.

So, what are the ways to protect some assets and money without a prenup? Read on. But be aware that not all may apply. It depends on the laws of a given jurisdiction.

  • Cash you want protected should be kept separate. If you bring in funds to the marriage or inherit money individually from a source and mingle them in accounts held jointly, they become marital property. At divorce the entire sum is subject to division.
  • You may want to keep solely owned real property under your name. It is not uncommon for each spouse to come to the marriage owning a home. If you move into one of the two homes, it's also not uncommon to put both names on the one deed. But in the event the couple divorces, the courts could rule that half the value of the home must be paid to the non-owner spouse. If the idea was to assure the transfer of the property to that spouse in the event of death, that could be done with a will or trust.
  • Document values of retirement accounts and/or businesses of what you at the date of marriage. By providing solid evidence of values at the start of the marriage it becomes possible at divorce to limit division to the amount of appreciated values, rather than the full values.

Source:, "5 Ways to Protect Your Money Without a Prenup," Rebecca Zung,, May 6, 2015

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