Hammelman Law has always worked with clients to ensure that assets are protected, and that often means carefully taking into account how to protect yourself and children or other family members in the event of separation or divorce. There are considerations such as retirement accounts and potentially previously executed Estate Plans, and then some clients choose to execute their Estate Plans and Marital Agreements contemporaneously, allowing for a full inventory of assets and decisions for where assets should go upon death or divorce.
Coming from a blended family gives me a unique perspective as to how different families may approach things based on whether there are marital children, children from prior relationships, or a combination of both.
What Happens Without a Marital Agreement?
If you don't make a prenuptial agreement, your state's laws determine who owns the property that you acquire during your marriage, as well as what happens to that property at divorce or death. (Property acquired during your marriage is known as either marital or community property, depending on your state.) State law may even have a say in what happens to some of the property you owned before you were married.
Under the law, marriage is considered to be a contract between the marrying couple, and with that contract comes certain automatic property rights for each spouse. For example, in the absence of a prenup stating otherwise, a spouse usually has the right to:
Share ownership of property acquired during marriage, with the expectation that the property will be divided between the spouses in the event of a divorce or at death
Incur debts during marriage that the other spouse may have to pay for, and
Share in the management and control of any marital or community property, sometimes including the right to sell it or give it away.