Many people may think the only time they need a family attorney before they marry is if they want a prenuptial agreement. There are many reasons to consult a family attorney before marriage, though. After all, you will need one throughout your marriage as your family and assets grow and change. Here are three reasons to consider partnering with a family attorney before you marry, even if you do not want a prenuptial agreement.
If you have agreed to move into a home already owned by one person in the relationship, what will the arrangement be regarding mortgage payments? Under Florida law the home only belongs to the person whose name is on the deed. So if you are the person whose name is not on the deed, even if you were to pay half of the mortgage for your entire marriage, you may lose the home in the event of divorce. You would not be entitled to any of that asset as it is considered a pre-marital property. If you and your future spouse agree to something else and do not want to refinance, put it in writing with your family attorney.
Retirement Accounts & Debt
It is common for both spouses to work outside the home and contribute to individual retirement accounts before having children. At that time, some families choose to have one parent stay home to raise the children. This means that retirement account no longer receives contributions. So then, what happens if a divorce takes place? What if one of you has a substantial retirement account prior to the marriage and the other has little or no retirement account? Both of these situations are a great reason to hire a family attorney to draw up an agreement regarding retirement accounts. If you plan on keeping finances separate, you should also have your attorney address debt in the same document.
Wills & Powers of Attorney
Although you cannot use your married name in a last will and testament until you are officially married, your attorney can draw them up before the big day and you can sign them once you are officially married. In addition to a last will and testament, you should also consider the following:
- Healthcare power of attorney
- Financing power of attorney
- Living will
A trust is especially helpful if you have significant assets and children from a previous marriage. It helps ensure they will receive the bulk of your assets rather than your new spouse if that is your preference.
Call Wagstaff & Pitelis
Wagstaff & Pitelis can help you before and during your marriage with all your family law needs. Call us today for your no-obligation consultation, and learn how we can help you before and during your marriage. Reach us at (727) 584-8182 or fill out our contact form.