This is the next post in my series discussing how Nevada community property laws impact Las Vegas residents during a divorce. My last post discussed how the Clark County Family Court will divide a couple’s debt during divorce proceedings. In this article I will explain how a couple can designate certain assets as “individual property” by signing a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage.
Las Vegas, Nevada residents can use a premarital contract to protect individual property during a contested divorce
Nevada is a community property state. This means that, under the law, when a couple divorces then property which the couple acquired together is generally split 50-50. However, as adults are postponing the age of marriage into their late 30’s and early 40’s, more and more couples find themselves entering into marriage already owning businesses, significant assets, property, and stock options. When one or both future spouses have significant assets going into a marriage then it is not uncommon for one or both persons to wish to protect those assets in the event of divorce. Circumstances for this may vary; either party may have been divorced in the past and wish to avoid past mistakes, either party may have children from other relationships that they wish to protect, or either person may just wish to ensure that assets they have worked hard to gain remain theirs in the event of a dissolution.
A prenuptial agreement can protect individual property from being included in the “community” during a divorce. It is important for couples to have a specific plan as to how they will ensure that the asset in question remains “separate” from the other marital property. If a Las Vegas couple co-mingles property that is listed as separate in a premarital agreement then it may be possible for the contract to be thrown out of Court later. For example, if one spouse owns a property, but the other spouse spends a great deal of money maintaining and improving the property, there may be an argument that both spouses have a claim to the home. Including detailed language in the contract will ensure that each person’s individual property is protected.
Hire a Nevada family law attorney to help ensure that your premarital contract is properly drafted
It is common for one side to challenge a premarital agreement when a divorce is contentious. It is important to have all documents drafted and reviewed by a qualified family law attorney in order to ensure that your contract is legal and will hold up in Court. Your attorney will ensure that the individual property that is being protected fully belongs to one partner and that designating the property as separate will not unfairly treat the other future spouse. Your attorney will also include language in the contract that explains how the couple is to keep the assets in question separated from other marital property. Finally, counsel will suggest that both parties retain separate lawyers and ensure that all persons involved truly understand what the contract means moving forward. This is meant to help avoid any misunderstandings and prevent any possibility that a contract would be overturned in the event of a divorce.
If you are getting married and wish for your individual property to be protected then contact a Las Vegas family lawyer today to inquire further about a premarital agreement. Contact our office now to schedule a consultation.