Protecting Your Assets When You Get Married

Marriage is supposed to be a happy, romantic time but nothing can ruin that sentiment faster than talking about something like a prenup.

The spouse being asked to sign a prenup can quickly feel like they’re viewed as dishonest or trying to take advantage of their new spouse. Feeling like a gold digger can really take a toll on the marriage before it even gets started.

Yes, the smart thing to do is protect yourself in case of a divorce, but no one on the verge of getting married wants to be thinking about the worst case scenario. Despite the anxiety that can come with bringing up the concept of asset protection, it’s important.

This is especially true since so many people are waiting until later in life to get married, and may have acquired more assets than they had in their early 20s.

There are things that you can do and discuss to protect your assets before you get married.

Reframe the Prenup Conversation

When one partner wants a prenup, and the other doesn’t, it can feel like a personal attack.

Try to reframe the conversation, and make it part of a larger estate plan that you create as a couple. You can work with a financial counselor or professional to facilitate the discussion. Rather than simply saying here’s a prenup, sign it, you can start the conversation with your spouse in a way that puts the prenup as just one component of a larger plan that includes both of you.

Don’t Be In a Rush To Combine Accounts and Assets

There’s this sense that getting married means you share everything including your financial accounts and assets. That’s not always the best option.

If you can work it out, it can be better to keep the things you acquired before getting married separate. From there, once you get married, you can work on building things together.

People should keep in mind that if their future spouse has any debt, it can be fair game to creditors if finances are combined. Keeping things separate can be a good way to avoid getting mixed up in financial problems your future husband or wife had before you ever got married.

Learn About Each Other’s Past Finances and Goals

Money is a big reason for divorce, and you can put yourself in a better situation to avoid this if you’re honest and upfront in the beginning. Both future spouses should see each other’s credit reports, so you’re not blindsided by a huge amount of debt you didn’t know the other had.

You should also create some shared goals and objectives for your finances once you get married, and try to ensure that you have at least a similar perspective on things like saving, spending and investing.

Finally, if you’re coming into a marriage as a property owner, you should think very carefully about adding the other person to the deed. If there is a divorce, this can get extremely complicated. If you keep it separate, it will make a divorce simpler, and you’re less likely to lose up to 50% of your real property.