Maryland couples may consider it cynical to plan for the end of a marriage before it starts, but doing so could save a great deal of acrimony and legal fees if the relationship fails to last forever. Even for marriages that do last, pre-marital planning for financial futures is prudent. A few simple steps on the front end can eliminate future financial hurdles.
For starters, a prenuptial agreement is definitely part of a pragmatic approach. However, it's just one tool in the box. Maintaining separate assets is also a far-sighted strategy for multiple reasons. Property acquired during the marriage is generally considered a joint asset, but people often bring property into marriages or receive inheritances that can be separately maintained. Once assets are mingled, they are considered joint and subject to sharing in a divorce. Having separate financial accounts can protect assets from debt collection efforts exclusive to one spouse.
Estate planning can also be made easier by the maintenance of separate assets, particularly with real property. Adding a spouse's name to a title or deed can result in a surviving spouse being ownership partners with his or her heirs in the event of an untimely death. Good record keeping is also important for couples. Documenting the value of individually owned assets at the time of marriage can save legal and accounting fees later. Simply keeping account statements or getting a real estate appraisal can be of great benefit later for cautious asset managers.
There are a number of asset protection strategies for married individuals concerned about divorce. Consulting a qualified and experienced family law attorney can provide the insight and guidance required to prepare for marital dissolution even if divorce is not imminent.