Law Offices of Kathleen D. Schneider
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Prenups better than separate accounts in divorce

Marriage looks different than it did in past generations, with millennials deviating from many trends and expectations set by their parents. This is not necessarily a bad thing, though. Marriage and divorce are simply evolving to adapt to new societal standards and the expectations of today's young adults. However, there are some important protections that millennials are overlooking, and it could harm them in the long run.

Watching their parents go through bitter divorces left many millennials in Pennsylvania understandably concerned about protecting their assets in marriage. A seemingly easy way to do so is to maintain separate bank accounts even after saying "I do." Not only does this easily determine whose income is whose, it also prevents one partner from maintaining singular control over the marital funds, which can be problematic during divorce. But despite what many young adults believe, keeping their money separate does not guarantee that it will be protected during divorce.

Even when kept in separate and individually maintained accounts, income from either spouse is considered marital property. This means that separate bank accounts do not protect a person's financial security in the event of a divorce. This can be upsetting news to some couples who have struggled with maintaining their finances across multiple accounts.

The distinction between separate and marital property is important in Pennsylvania. Marital property must be addressed and divided during divorce, while separate property stays with the person who owns it. The most effective way to maintain separate property and address the division of marital property is to utilize a prenuptial agreement. When a couple creates a prenup, they are not only outlining their separate property and possible future property division, they are also creating a valuable opportunity to address otherwise difficult topics.

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