I was sitting back and reflecting this week while preparing to marry a couple this weekend. In preparing my remarks, I began thinking about all of the myths surrounding what marriage is. For some, marriage is a symbol of love and commitment, and/or a business partnership. While as a Porter County divorce lawyer I cannot speak to the former, what I can speak to is marital property. During this popular season of nuptials, you should proceed with caution prior to saying ‘I Do’.
‘I Do’ from a Porter County Divorce Attorney ‘s Point of View
First, I will admit that if you are thinking of what happens to your property on your wedding day, you are not setting yourself up for success in your marriage. However, you should at that point understand the basic fundamentals of what you are doing. Most wedding vows involve caring for the other person, in sickness and health, and vows of monogamy and the like. What vows don’t cover or concern is that, in going through that ceremony and signing those magic documents, you are merging everything you have ever owned with your partner. Speaking with a Porter County divorce attorney confidentially prior to marriage may at least put your mind at ease prior to taking your nuptials.
My Porter County Divorce Attorney Just Told Me that ‘I Do’ Means ‘We Own’!?
When I, a Porter County divorce attorney, counsel clients in my office for the first time regarding a new Porter County divorce, I am often greeted with a complete sense of shock when I tell the person (sometimes the couple) that everything each of them owns is part of the marital pot and subject to division. I hear any number of myths such as, “….but the [property] is in my name only…” or, “…but we’ve only been married a few years…” or the most infamous, “…but I acquired that before we got married…”. It is sometimes difficult to explain to potential clients that anything they’ve earned and built up to this point–including what they owned prior to marriage, will be subject to division in a pending divorce.
In Indiana (and most every other state), all property acquired before and during the marriage will be subject to division, absent a written agreement, i.e. prenuptial agreement, to the contrary. While there are a few very narrow exceptions to this general rule, such exceptions are just that; they are extremely rare in reality. They are so rare, in fact, that I have seen them only a handful of times in my hundreds of divorce cases.
Porter County Divorce Attorney — What is a Prenuptial Agreement, and Should I Get One?
Unfortunately, this is a very complicated and fact-specific question. Answers vary depending on how much property you own prior to marriage, and the attitude of your spouse-to-be. If there is no identifiable property prior to marriage, a prenuptial agreement will be extremely difficult to enforce. As well, many people believe that a prenuptial agreement spoils the unconditional trust that partners are supposed to have for one another. I would respond with the following: 1) a prenuptial agreement can foster a sense of trust resting in the fact that a prenuptial agreement takes any issue of material benefit out of the marriage; 2) a prenuptial agreement is only heard about if the marriage does not succeed on other grounds; 3) many prenuptial agreements have a built-in expiration after which the prenuptial agreement becomes void.
Ask a Porter County Divorce Attorney if You Have any Doubt
All in all, marriage is a big deal. It is a big deal first, because of the love, commitment, and work that it requires. But equally as important is what happens to your property if your marriage is not successful. Admittedly, it is never a pleasant thought to imagine your marriage not suceeding. But, planning for the worst does not mean that you are also not hoping for the best.
Attorney Christopher Buckley is an experienced Porter County divorce attorney in Valparaiso, Indiana. He can answer all of your questions involving divorce, paternity, child custody, child support, postsecondary college expenses and all aspects of family law. CALL HIM TODAY for a FREE CONSULTATION. (219) 841-5683.