When two people are married, they normally make joint purchases and combine their economic lives, at least to some extent. If you have substantial property of your own going into the marriage, however, you may want to ensure that your property stays yours and does not become classified as marital property that would need to be split up in the event of a divorce.
In Minnesota, there are a number of legal ways to protect your separate property and ensure that it remains yours no matter what. If protecting this separate property is a concern, you should strongly consider speaking to a family law and divorce attorney who can help you to take concrete steps to protect your separate property.
How to Protect Your Separate Property
The single best way to protect your separate property is to have a contractual agreement that states that the property is yours and will remain yours no matter what.
The contractual agreement that people generally enter into in consideration of marriage is called a prenuptial agreement or a premarital agreement. A Minnesota premarital agreement can be created with your future spouse and can outline exactly what would happen in the event that you divorce.
Not only can you ensure that your property remains your own after a divorce by including this clause in a prenup, but you can also come to an advance agreement about other issues such as spousal support or alimony as well. By creating a prenuptial agreement, you have the ultimate protection for your property and your divorce should be both less expensive and less contentious.
If you have already gotten married and you do not have a premarital agreement in place, you can still create a contract with your spouse that provides information on what happens to your property in the event of a divorce. This is called a post-marital agreement if it is created at this point in your relationship. A post-marital agreement can contain information on everything that a prenup contains information on and can provide the same benefits in terms of protecting your property and assets and making divorce easier.
If your spouse does not agree to a premarital or postmarital agreement, however, there are still ways that you can protect property that you came into the marriage with. The key is to make sure that the property remains only in your name and is not comingled with any of your marital property.
If your property is mixed with money or assets that your spouse shares, or if your spouse helps you to improve your property and earns “sweat equity,” then the issues can become more complicated if you divorce. As such, it is a good idea to ensure that you truly keep your property completely separate from anything you and your spouse build together. An experienced family law and divorce attorney can advise you on steps you should- and shouldn’t- take so you can make sure you do everything possible to protect your property.