When Planning for Marriage, Also Plan for Divorce

Many people spend months planning their marriage without giving much thought to what will happen if the marriage ends in divorce. Unfortunately, approximately 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. The percentage is higher for second marriages (67 percent) and third marriages (74 percent).

It's as important to plan for the possibility of divorce as it is to plan for marriage. Planning for divorce does not mean you think your marriage will fail. It simply means that you will be prepared if the worst happens.

Here are some things you can do to protect your financial interests:

  • Draft a prenuptial agreement to determine in advance how marital assets will be divided if you and your spouse divorce.
  • If you are already married, consider a post-nuptial agreement. You may find it easier to negotiate an agreement while you and your spouse are still on good terms.
  • If you own separate assets (such as real estate, savings or a stock account), keep those assets in your name only. If your marriage ends in divorce, you will have the burden of proving those assets are your separate property.
  • Avoid posting anything on social media that would look bad in a future divorce or child custody action. For example, a Facebook post of you consuming alcohol or making disparaging comments about your spouse would not look good if introduced as evidence in a child custody trial.
  • Gather information about marital assets and debts (including credit cards that are in both your and your spouse's names) while you are married.

If you think a divorce is in your future, it pays to discuss your financial circumstances with an experienced family law attorney so you will know what to expect. Many people feel blindsided when they find out how much of their assets are subject to Florida's equitable distribution laws.