Nebraska couples headed for marriage may want to avoid any consideration of divorce, but continually high divorce rates make such thinking questionable. Some pragmatic couples seeking to protect their assets are implementing safeguards in case their marriages fail as a form of insurance they hope to never use.

While there is a variety of strategies couples can employ to protect themselves and their assets from unforeseen divorce battles, the most commonly known is the careful drafting of a prenuptial agreement signed by both parties. Many people are unaware that the same process can be followed even after marriage. The document is called a postnuptial agreement at that point. Other protections include simply maintaining separate accounts. This can be effective but requires strict discipline and recordkeeping from everyone concerned. If individual assets are used for joint purposes, the account can be considered marital property. If joint assets are used to maintain or repair individually titled property, it can also be deemed a joint asset.

Couples bringing retirement accounts or real property into a marriage are advised to keep account statements from just prior to the wedding in order to document the value of those assets in the event of a future dispute. Obtaining a real estate appraisal, even discretely, can verify the amount of appreciation a property has earned during the course of a marriage. Couples should be careful about adding the names of spouses to deeds or titles for multiple reasons. Not only can it precipitate disputes during marital dissolution, it can also cause estate-planning complications as well. For example, adding a spouse’s name to a deed could, after an untimely death, result in the surviving spouse having an unintended partnership with the heirs of the deceased.

Individual circumstances dictate the best course of action for any given situation. Consulting an experienced family law attorney can provide someone with an overview and insight regarding his or her options and strategies.