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Marital property: How prenuptial agreements help identify it

Chances are, there are couples currently married in Washington who will later divorce. Not all marriages end this way, of course, but statistics show that many do not last a lifetime. One of the most commonly addressed issues in divorce is marital property, specifically, who owns what and who gets what when after the divorce.

Each state generally has laws governing property division in divorce.  At least nine states have community property laws, wherein all property is considered equally owned by both spouses and, therefore, has to be divided equally in divorce. It is always best to seek information regarding laws in a particular state before proceeding to divorce court.

One of the ways many couples side-step such constrictions is to sign prenuptial agreements before their weddings take place. This type of contract is highly customizable and allows a soon-to-be spouse to stake an ownership claim on specific property or assets, which would then be protected from division should someone later file for divorce. The home itself is typically one of the largest assets included in a divorce settlement; thus, if a person already owns the home intended to be the marital residence, instructions can be written into a prenuptial agreement stating that sole ownership is being retained.

Going through a divorce is seldom easy, and issues regarding marital property and division of assets often become highly emotionally charged on both sides. Many couples in Washington have found that prenuptial agreements have helped them avoid circumstances that may have otherwise been quite stressful. An experienced family law attorney is able to guide someone through the entire process of formulating a solid prenuptial plan.

Source: FindLaw, "What Can and Cannot be Included in Prenuptial Agreements", Accessed on Nov. 3, 2016

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