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Prenuptial agreements can keep marital and individual property separate

Prenuptial agreements can prevent separate property from turning into marital property throughout the course of a couple’s marriage.

In Wisconsin and in every other state in the U.S., separate property is exempt from distribution during the divorce process, states Forbes. During the property division process, separate property is usually defined as any property that was acquired during the marriage, property that was inherited, gifts received from a third party or any compensation that was awarded to one spouse for personal injuries sustained during the marriage. However, when separate property is commingled with marital assets and transmutation occurs, the character of the property can be transformed into marital property.

For example, commingling can occur if a shared bank account is opened by a wife and funds acquired before the marriage are place into it. Or, separate property can be commingled and transmuted into marital property if a husband uses an inheritance he received to perform renovations on the home that he shares and owns with his wife.

Preventing transmutation

Those who are getting married in the near future and want to prevent their personal assets from transforming into marital property over the course of their marriage should consider devising and signing a prenuptial agreement. According to Forbes, prenuptial agreements clarify how property will be divided in the event of a divorce and can be used to keep property separate and free from the marital estate.

Asking for a prenuptial agreement

Although a prenuptial agreement may be necessary to prevent the commingling of assets, future spouses may be hesitant to bring up the topic about drafting one of these agreements with their partner. To facilitate a successful conversation that ultimately leads to the development of a viable prenuptial agreement, Entrepreneur suggests that those getting married in the near future should:

  • Bring up the idea of drafting a prenuptial agreement shortly after engagement and use this request as a way to discuss what is wanted out of the marriage
  • Avoid presenting their partner with a prenuptial agreement that has already been drafted and instead, decide the terms of the contract together with their future spouse
  • Be open and honest about why they want a prenuptial agreement and disclose any personal beliefs or experiences that may contribute to this desire
  • Listen to their partner’s concerns about drafting a prenuptial agreement with an open mind and use any disagreements that may arise as an opportunity to improve the terms of the agreement

Once the decision to draft a prenuptial agreement has been made, future spouses in Wisconsin should seek legal assistance to ensure the terms contained within their agreement are legally enforceable. If you and your partner are getting married soon, speak with an attorney in your area who can help you develop a beneficial prenuptial agreement.

Keywords: prenuptial, agreement, contract

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