Prenuptial Agreement and the Trigger for Provisions on Property Distribution in a Divorce

DivorceAbout half of all the marriages in the U.S. end in divorce, or so people are led to believe. Whether that is true or not, it is safe to say that divorce is a common occurrence in this country.

One of the biggest problems you may encounter if you or your spouse ever files for divorce is the division of all your wealth and assets. If you are the party that brought wealth into the marriage, be prepared for headaches.

Premarital Agreement or Prenup

The best answer to potential property or wealth division problems in a divorce is one that should come before the wedding: a premarital or prenuptial agreement commonly referred to as a prenup. You probably won’t start a marriage thinking about divorce, but it’s better to be safe than sorry in case the relationship heads south along the way.

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So, if you have assets to protect, file a prenup before getting wed. Remember to hire a family lawyer in Denver to help you file the agreement. It is often best to have a different attorney than the one who represents your spouse, to prevent problems in the future.

The Question on When a Prenup Takes Effect

This is the part of the prenuptial agreement that many people do not take into account when they create the prenup. As such, even with a prenup, they still end up losing their assets. Without an apparent “trigger” for your prenup’s provisions on property distribution, your spouse may still get a huge chunk of your wealth or family business.

Here’s an example. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas entered a prenup before getting married, which states that Mrs. Thomas will get Mr. Thomas’s house and $500,000 if they file for divorce after five years of marriage. A few years into the union, Mrs. Thomas cheats on her husband with an office mate. She plans to leave Mr. Thomas after the five years are up to gain her entitlement to the property and cash.

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However, two months before that, Mr. Thomas learns of the affair. Is it too late to keep Mrs. Thomas from taking his house and his money? After all, it isn’t likely for the divorce to be final before the five years are up; that’s only two months away.

This situation would have been easier to remedy had Mr. Thomas identified the day of the filing of divorce by any party as the trigger of the prenup provisions on property distribution. If they had specified this trigger in the prenup, all Mr. Thomas needed to do was to beat his wife to the five-year timeline by filing the divorce now.

When submitting a premarital or prenuptial agreement, don’t forget to be specific, particularly with the trigger. Talk to your lawyer about it to make sure you cover all the bases. You never know what awaits your relationship in the future.