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Ways to protect premarital assets

Many engaged couples in Florida might feel uncomfortable discussing finances and prenuptial agreements before getting married because it's not romantic. It may make them feel like they're saying 'I do" to a divorce before they say 'I do" at their wedding.

Prenuptial agreements are a way for couples to protect the assets they accumulated before their marriage. However, all is not lost if the couple doesn't sign a prenup. There are other ways assets can be protected.

One way is for each spouse to maintain a separate bank account and pay bills relating to premarital assets from that account. This is in addition to any joint account the couple may set up to pay for mutual bills. Any property owned before the marriage should be kept in that spouse's name. This includes the house. While basic maintenance can be paid from the joint account, any improvements should come from the separate account as they increase the value of the property. Property taxes should also come from the separate account.

It's also important to keep detailed records of purchases that are made from the individual account. If one spouse inherits money or other assets, he or she should keep it in the separate account so that it won't be subject to the division of property if the couple divorces.

Maintaining separate accounts may seem complicated and unwieldy, especially if the couple never divorces. But with 45 percent of marriages today ending in divorce, separate accounts may be worth the effort. If someone needs advice on how to streamline this process, he or she may want to consult with a Venice, Florida, property division law firm. An attorney may be able to advise his or her clients on other ways to protect their assets, including revocable trusts.

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