Divorce asset protection involves strategies used to keep a party's assets safe and in his control following a divorce. Interestingly, divorce asset protection strategies may be employed well before a person is divorced. In fact they may be put in place while an individual is still happily married in a postnuptial agreement or even before the marriage begins via a prenuptial agreement. Likewise, a person may work to keep some of his assets as individual property throughout his marriage, even without a prenuptial agreement, so they won’t be subject to splitting in the event of a divorce. It is important to keep in mind, however, that the strategies that may work for keeping assets separate may depend on the unique marital property laws set in the couple's particular jurisdiction.
Among the most commonly used divorce asset protection strategies are those that involve contracts. In such contracts, spouses agree to how their assets will be split in the event of a divorce. Many people are familiar with prenuptial agreements, which are contracts that are made before a marriage that dictate how the assets will be divided or shared in the event of a divorce. There are, however, some contracts that are put in place after a marriage has begun and serve the same purpose. They are referred to postnuptial agreements.
There are many things a divorce asset protection contract may cover. Among them may be the division of assets, alimony payments, and child support if there are children involved. In most places, child custody arrangements are not made in divorce asset protection contracts; these sorts of agreements are typically unenforceable if they are not made at the time of the dispute. Often, a judge decides who will have custody of a couple's children before a divorce is finalized. A divorcing couple may also create their own custody agreement and have a judge approve it, however.
Some people don’t think they need to make use of divorce asset protection strategies. For example, they may believe they are entitled to whatever they personally owned when they entered the marriage or acquired on their own throughout the marriage. This is not always the case, however. In many jurisdictions, individual assets may be considered marital property if they were ever combined with marital property. One spouse's asset may also be considered marital property if the other spouse contributed to it, helped to pay for it, or helped to maintain it.