How to Protect Separate Property without a Prenup
Sometimes, no matter how nicely you ask nor how many times, your future spouse may just not want to sign a premarital agreement. More commonly known as a prenup, these written agreements clearly set out the terms of possession of assets, treatment of future earnings, control of the property of each, and potential division if the marriage is later dissolved. Prenups are increasingly common, and not just for the ‘wealthy’ or ‘famous’. It is important that your prenup is properly drafted in order for it to be enforceable (read a list of common reasons why prenups are unenforceable here).
While prenups are generally considered to be a wise financial planning tool, they can also be seen as “romance dampeners”. No matter what your intentions are behind asking your future spouse to sign a prenup, sometimes they are just unwilling. Does this mean you should not follow through with the marriage? Not necessarily. You may still be able to protect your separate property.
Generally speaking, income earned during a California marriage is deemed to be community property. This is where keeping your separate property can become tricky and why the help of an expert family lawyer may be useful. If your fiance refuses to sign a prenup, a few ways you can protect your assets include:
- Keeping your separate property separate
- Hiring outside managers for your investments
- Creating a separate property trust and/or other entity to hold your separate assets
- Avoiding borrowing money with community credit
- Avoiding commingling separate and community property
- Determining the value of assets at the date of marriage
- Saving the records showing the nature and extent of your assets at the date of marriage
- Obtaining appraisals of real property and businesses as of the date of the marriage
This list is not exhaustive. For more guidance on the issue of separate vs community property, reach out to the expert Los Angeles family lawyers at Walzer Melcher today.