How To Protect More Than Your Heart This Valentine’s Day
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There may be no worse feeling than having your heart broken, especially
on Valentine’s Day. But anyone who has had their heart broken –
whether in a divorce or a long-term relationship where assets were an
issue – knows that romantic heartbreak can extend to financial heartbreak.
Moving forward after a divorce can leave you guarded romantically, and
most professionals would tell you that, at some point, you have to open
up. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with protecting your wealth
as your next relationship progresses.
Knowing that your liability is limited, asset-wise, may even help hungry
hearts in a relationship. Here are four ways to start protecting your
assets from a possible bad breakup in the future.
Get the prenup. One barrier to the pre-marriage agreement is that intended
spouses hesitate to raise the delicate subject of a prenuptial agreement.
their marriage can fail, and many fear that a prenup communicates distrust.
But a pre-marriage agreement is the safest way to protect yourself from
a future divorce. Consider a prenup as a mature consideration for those
who can admit that not everything works out perfectly in a marriage.
- Don’t cohabit without a cohabitation agreement. A cohabitation agreement
defines the couple’s property rights. More than a few want to avoid
the legal and financial complications from marriage – particularly
when one party has substantially more wealth. Many of these folks are
seniors who don’t want to disqualify themselves for Social Security
or pension benefits. But if things go wrong your former partner may have
a claim on your assets.
Write a post-nuptial agreement even if you’re married. Married spouses
may want to contractually agree on how they’ll divide their assets
should they later divorce, and most states allow for these
post-nuptial agreements. As with pre-marriage agreements, the enforceability
of the post-nuptial agreement requires the agreement to be fair; that
both spouses fully understand the agreement; that neither party defrauded
the other; and that each party had independent legal counsel.
- Keep your good credit. Good credit is one asset you must diligently protect
during divorce. You’ll lose your good score if your spouse runs
up huge bills on your charge accounts and credit cards. It’s difficult
to financially cope during the turmoil and expense of divorce, but there
is a path. First, immediately notify your creditors that you will no longer
be responsible for your spouse’s debts. Next, destroy and revoke
all credit cards on which you have liability. Finally, publicly disclaim
liability responsibility for your spouse’s future debts.
Knowing that your wealth and assets are protected is liberating,”
Presser says. “Whether or not you’ve been hurt before, don’t
fall for the idea that romance is perfect; it’s not. When things
go bad, the power of the positive can easily turn to the power of the
negative. I advise folks to avoid fear by reasonably protecting themselves
in marriage, cohabitation and divorce.
Hillel L. Presser’s firm, The Presser Law Firm, P.A., represents
individuals and businesses in establishing comprehensive asset protection
plans. He is a graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Management
and Nova Southeastern University’s law school, and formerly served
on Nova’s President’s Advisory Council. He is a former adjunct
faculty member for law at Lynn University. Complimentary copies of his
book “Financial Self-Defense” are available through
YES, YOU CAN LOSE EVERYTHING!
You may think that your wealth is safe and that you don't need protection.
But don't delude yourself and accept reality — for every 60
minutes you spend making money, spend 60 seconds thinking about how to