Advantages of a Prenuptial Agreement
Prenuptial agreements – those legally binding contracts that specify what happens with a couple’s assets if they divorce, separate, or one spouse passes away – are often considered unnecessary to couples who have separate bank accounts or have other individual assets. But this is a misconception. Once a couple marries, their separate assets may no longer be considered individual property, and are subject to division if the couple should divorce.
Prenuptial agreements – commonly referred to as “prenups” — are prepared before a couple marries, and they are designed to address what will happen if the couple should legally separate, divorce, or if one spouse dies. Prenuptial agreements may specify spousal maintenance, division of property, and division of other assets.
Limits of separate bank accounts
Maintaining separate bank accounts can be beneficial for a number of reasons, including managing expenses and reducing conflict between spouses concerning finances. However, separate bank accounts do not offer protection from property division laws if a couple divorces.
Marital property and personal property
When a couple divorces, their property is evaluated to determine which property is considered “marital property” – property that was acquired before and during the couple’s marriage and as such is shared – or “individual property”, which is not subject to property division.
Wisconsin is a community property state
Wisconsin is a community property state in terms of division of property when a couple divorces. In a community property state, all the assets that a married couple owns subject to being divided equally if the couple divorces. These assets include: income earned by either spouse during the marriage such as salary, stock dividends, and retirement accounts; all real estate and personal property acquired prior to or during the marriage; and all debts that are incurred prior to or during the couple’s marriage. It does not matter which spouse may have earned more; everything is presumed to be divided equally.
Prenups provide protection
Prenuptial agreements provide the opportunity for couples to discuss their finances openly and to address which property is considered marital and which property is considered individual. Working with an experienced family law attorney, couples can specify how these matters should be addressed if the couple legally separates, divorces, or if one spouse passes away. Prenuptial agreements can always be modified or even nullified, should circumstances change.
Experienced counsel for all your family law needs
The skilled Milwaukee divorce attorneys at Bandle & Zaeske, LLP share more than 50 years of legal experience and in-depth knowledge of Wisconsin divorce and family law. Our accomplished legal team has been recognized by numerous legal organizations and publications. Attorney Eric Zaeske was named a top divorce and family law attorney by Wisconsin’s M Magazine for four consecutive years. Attorney Christie Bandle received the prestigious Rising Star designation by Super Lawyers, an honor awarded to less than 2.5% of Wisconsin lawyers each year, as well as named top divorce attorney by MKE Lifestyle magazine. We are available to answer your questions about prenuptial agreements and other family law matters; schedule a consultation with a member of our team online or by contacting our office directly at 414-359-1424. We help clients in Milwaukee, Washington, Ozaukee and Waukesha counties. We also practice in Dodge, Racine, Fond du Lac and Sheboygan counties.