As one prepares to marry, there are a number of legal and financial aspects to consider. For example, the designation of assets and property as separate or marital is something that can be done prior to a marriage license being signed. Couples in Pennsylvania can create a prenuptial agreement that outlines whose property is whose and which assets will be shared. These agreements can also address other issues that may arise should divorce occur in the future.
A prenuptial agreement can protect various assets, such as real estate and businesses by designating whether they belong to only one individual or whether they will be considered marital property. Assets owned prior to a marriage that are not combined with those of one’s spouse can be considered separate property, and those assets will remain the property of the original owner should the couple later divorce. As the definition of marital property varies by state, it is important for Pennsylvania couples to understand the state laws that apply to them.
In some cases, it is wise to keep separate property completely separate from marital property. For example, funds from separate properties should not be deposited into a joint account if one wants to protect them from possible division at a later date. By clearly separating what is shared in the marriage from what is owned separately, one can protect one’s assets.
A prenuptial agreement can be created in an attempt to provide both parties with a clear understanding of what to expect regarding the potential division of assets, property and finances. Pennsylvania couples who are getting married may find that they would benefit from a prenuptial agreement even if they do not have many assets at the time of the their marriage. Fortunately, should a couple fail to sign a prenuptial agreement before marriage and then decide that it would have been wise, they can sign a post-nuptial agreement at any time after their marriage.
Source: csmonitor.com, “How to keep assets separate in a marriage: 9 dos and don’ts”, Kathleen Nemetz, March 27, 2015