Protecting Your Assets From Your Spouse

From a personal perspective, prenuptial agreements are not very appealing, but from a common sense and legal point of view, they can be essential. Getting married is the biggest financial decision in most people’s lives, but many do not consider the financial entanglements that marriage creates. Just ask anyone who has lost a house or retirement plan in a divorce.

Despite reading articles about the importance of using a prenuptial agreement as a tool for planning, plenty of people feel uncomfortable with prenuptial agreements. Luckily, there are secondary measures, not all as good as a prenuptial agreement, but perhaps more in line with your personal views and the realities of your relationship. For example, there are ways to structure corporate documents to insulate your business from divorce proceedings, whether your own divorce or that of a business partner. Buy-sell agreements among shareholders and corporate insurance policies in the event of a forced buyout can be effective tools to protect the business. Likewise, postnuptial agreements are an option, even if the prenuptial agreement seemed awkward at the time of marriage. A postnuptial agreement can be all encompassing, or it can be limited to a spouse relinquishing claims on an interest in a business, a retirement account, or the increase in value on an inheritance.