Many individuals in Pennsylvania enter marriage with the expectation that they will enjoy marital bliss for many years to come. Unfortunately, sometimes divorce is inevitable. For this reason, creating a prenuptial agreement may be a smart move for couples who are about to marry.
A prenuptial agreement allows an individual who is about to wed to protect him or herself financially in the event that a divorce occurs down the road. These types of agreements can designate particular future and current assets as separate — or individually owned — instead of marital property. This is significant in that marital property is subject to distribution during divorce, whereas separate property is not.
Assets that have been inherited can especially be hard to address during divorce because they may fall under either category of separate property or marital property. Inherited assets are considered separate property if the spouse who inherited them keeps them separate from marital property. However, if the spouse commingles these assets with joint assets — for example, he or she puts inherited money in a joint checking out — these assets typically become marital property. Still, a prenuptial agreement may provide protection in the event that an inherited asset is inadvertently converted into marital property.
Even if a couple never created a prenuptial agreement, they can still attempt to resolve their divorce issues, such as asset distribution, outside of court. This may be possible through divorce mediation or informal negotiations, for example. An attorney in Pennsylvania can provide the guidance needed to navigate these proceedings and achieve the most personally favorable outcome possible.