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Plan ahead for better finances after divorce

Texas couples thinking about marriage may benefit by also thinking about divorce if they want to best protect their financial futures. With steadily high divorce rates, putting in place strategies for coping with a marriage ending seems just as prudent as having health or life insurance. For pragmatic couples, there are a number of tactics available to protect individual assets if divorce happens.

The prenuptial agreement is most often thought of when advance divorce planning is considered. While pre- and even post-nuptial agreements are efficient when properly structured, they are not the only available tools for astute asset managers. Simply keeping separate accounts can be a very effective strategy for some couples. Having a dedicated joint account for marital assets while maintaining individual accounts can be of benefit, but any co-mingling or usage of an individual account for joint benefit can negate the intent. For example, if an inheritance is placed into a joint account, it becomes marital property. Maintaining separate finances can also provide some level of insulation for one spouse against the other's individual creditors in the event of aggressive collection tactics.

Real estate is an area where couples must be especially cautious. Using joint assets for upkeep or remodeling can result in an asset being later adjudicated as joint marital property. If a spouse brings property into a relationship and then later adds the partner's name to the title or deed, an untimely death could result in an unwanted partnership with surviving children of a prior marriage.

Asset protection can be a confusing subject, and the best strategy for a given situation depends on individual scenarios. Consulting with a qualified family law attorney may provide insight and guidance for anyone considering the possibility or either marriage or divorce.

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