Protecting property in the absence of a prenuptial agreement

This blog has reported in the past about some good reasons to enter into a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements can cover what will happen to a couple's assets in the event of a divorce, how inheritances will be handled and whether spousal support will be paid and, if so, in what amount. However, what if one spouse or the other decides they do not need a prenuptial agreement? Once they get married, is there any way a couple in Kentucky can protect their separate property without a prenuptial agreement in place?

Before we explore this topic further it is important to keep in mind that the laws vary depending on what state you are in and nothing can replace the sound advice of a dedicated attorney. That being said, one step spouses can take if they did not create a prenup is to keep non-marital property separate -- that is, avoid commingling. Property that is either owned separately before the couple got married or that was inherited by one spouse or the other should be kept separate from the marital property. If the two types of property are mixed and it is no longer possible to trace which property is separate and which is marital, the property may have commingled, and all of it may be considered marital.

Similarly, if a spouse has separate property such as a house or a business, it should be maintained with separate funds. This includes paying the mortgage, making repairs or renovating the property. Otherwise it could be difficult to sort out the valuation of the property for purposes of determining what is marital and what is separate during the property division process.

These are two ways a spouse in Kentucky can protect their property even if he or she does not have a prenuptial agreement in place. Of course, if an individual decides he or she does want to create a prenuptial agreement, he or she may want to seek legal help before proceeding.