So how can divorce be like poker you ask? As the joke says you end up holding hands in the beginning, and if you aren’t properly protected, losing huge in the end.
Nobody wants to go into a marriage thinking about the “what-if” scenarios that could include divorce. Unfortunately these days your odds are about 50/50 that you’ll end up divorced.
With that in mind if you have significant assets prior to marriage it is best to do what you can to protect them. A couple things to think about before taking the leap:
A Prenuptial Agreement can help protect assets acquired before marriage and during marriage. It can also spell out what would be paid out in alimony/property settlements in a divorce. Be sure that both parties are represented by attorneys and there are no conflicts of interest or duress placed on one of the parties to sign.
A Postnuptial Agreement can help spell out how ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) protected retirement assets will be dispersed in a divorce. ERISA protected retirement plans aren’t protected by prenups because prior to marriage you don’t have a spouse that the plan would be concerned with.
These types of plans have protections in place so spouses can’t be cut off from receiving retirement benefits. ERISA forces spouses to consent to not receiving benefits. If your spouse doesn’t consent, you can’t name any other beneficiary or take lump sums from the plan.
How you own property may add some protections in the event of divorce. For instance, if you own property within a trust it makes sense to keep those assets in trust. As long as they sit in trust they are protected from divorce and other creditors. However, once the assets are removed they are fair game.
It is essential to speak with an attorney and have proper agreements drafted prior and post marriage. We hope for the best but plan for the worst.
If you haven’t recently reviewed your investments you should contact your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Practitioner.
If you aren’t currently working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Practitioner you can find one HERE.