Relevant demographics and statistics related to marriage and divorce in Florida and the rest of the United States well indicate why increased focus is being placed by partners in many relationships on keeping a tighter hold over their assets through prenuptial agreements or in other ways.
To wit: Reportedly, close to half of all marriages end within their first eight years, and the average age for newlyweds has ticked up, to 26.5 for women and 28.7 for men, respectively.
What that means is that more people are accruing more assets — cash, real estate, retirement and other savings accounts, art, jewelry, motor vehicles and so forth — before marriage than in prior years and that, given such a high divorce rate, increasingly more of them are concerned about protecting some of that wealth.
Despite the inroads made by premarital contracts in recent years, many people still resist following through with one, for a host of personal reasons.
That being the case, is there some other way for a party to effectively shield assets that he or she has accrued prior to the wedding date? Commonly, property that can clearly be identified as “separate” and in existence prior to marriage will survive later challenges, but what happens if things get commingled and otherwise a bit murky following marriage and there is no marital contract in place to address matters?
Some attorneys and financial planners recommend that some parties take a close look at trusts as a suitable alternative to prenuptial agreements in certain instances. Although there are clear differences in the structuring of the two legal instruments and how courts look at them, the bottom-line goal of identifying and protecting specific assets remains the same.
An experienced property division attorney can answer questions and address concerns.
Source: Barron’s, “Divorce trusts,” Tatiana Serafin, May 18, 2013