GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) — When we wed it is for better or worse, till death do us part, only it isn’t always. No one expects to be divorced when they get married, but the simple fact is that 50 percent of us will be divorced. Doesn’t it make a ton of sense to look out for yourself, just in case? Here are three tips that every woman should consider to protect themselves should their marriage fail.
Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements can be a good thing. They can protect you or your future husband’s assets if one of you brings the majority of the assets to the marriage. A prenup can also protect a family business that was established well before the marriage, such as a farm that has been in the family for generations and is still operated by many family members. However, it can also ensure that you are not provided the protections that the law provides on a division of assets. It can be quite complicated and very specific to individual situations. Say, that same farm is one in your spouses family that he is part owner of and you, as his spouse, have worked on it for many years. Should you be entitled to a portion after the work you have done? What about loans on the farm for equipment? Were they paid from marital assets? To be safe and smart, have a competent attorney thoroughly review any pre or post nuptial agreement before you sign it. Make sure it is not the same attorney who drafted it, but an independent attorney with no ties to your future spouse and his family. Get an unbiased opinion on whether signing the document is in your best interest.
Make sure that any property or valuable assets in the marriage are in both of your names. It is frustrating, but we see women come in for a divorce who have allowed their house to be in their husband’s name only. Just because you live in it doesn’t mean it belongs to you. Businesses also should be in both names so that you are entitled to half of the assets should you divorce.
My mother taught me from a young age that women need to be independent and able to take care of themselves. Having a bank account, in just your name, gives you a source of money should something happen where you need to take care of yourself for awhile. Even if you both work, you likely have joint banking accounts. If one of you files for divorce, the court often freezes the accounts until an agreement can be made on the division of assets. That means you won’t have access to remove a chunk of cash to keep you going. An account with ‘quitting money’ is a good idea and if you don’t need it you will have a nice sum when you retire.