Keeping assets separate in marriage

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Planner01
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Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by Planner01 »

This question is not pertinent to me but a friend. She is the third wife of a high payed surgeon. She makes a good amount of income herself, but not as much as him. He insisted on a prenup before they got married which she signed (angrily) two days before the wedding. She doesn’t think that he ever filed the papers with the attorney as she later found them in his closet and purposely hid them.

Regardless of the prenup, if he keeps his assets in his name, include the title of the house (over $1M, no debt) and never merge them with each other (no children in common. They each have kids from previous spouses), if they were to get divorced say in 5 years, would she get half of the value of the house?

The house is what my friend wants most. Don’t comment on the motivations here please. I know, I know. I don’t agree and saw it even before he proposed. I am sure he can see it too.

Not in a community property state.
Last edited by Planner01 on Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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arcticpineapplecorp.
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by arcticpineapplecorp. »

depends on:
1. if the prenup was completed or not.
2. are they a community property state.
3. he can go against a prenup and give more if he wants to but isn't required to.

If she wants to ensure her right to half the house, the easiest thing to do would be to add her name to the deed, joint tenants with rights of survivorship. Is he not willing to do that?
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chrisam314
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by chrisam314 »

Sounds like a solid marriage. Wonder what wife #4 will be like.
delamer
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by delamer »

She should consult a local attorney to see what her rights are regarding the house.

They sound like a lovely couple...
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Planner01
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by Planner01 »

arcticpineapplecorp. wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:06 pm depends on:
1. if the prenup was completed or not.
2. are they a community property state.
3. he can go against a prenup and give more if he wants to but isn't required to.

If she wants to ensure her right to half the house, the easiest thing to do would be to add her name to the deed, joint tenants with rights of survivorship. Is he not willing to do that?
He’s not willing to put her name on the house. My friend has a modest house in her name which she bought before they met and rents it out. He wants the house to go to his 3 under age kids. This is his third marriage, where he’s paying the second wife $20k a month for alimony and child support. Poor guy has been burned many times and is protecting himself.
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Planner01
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by Planner01 »

chrisam314 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:12 pm Sounds like a solid marriage. Wonder what wife #4 will be like.
This is my friend’s third marriage too. It’s very complicated.
sailaway
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by sailaway »

Planner01 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:16 pm
chrisam314 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:12 pm Sounds like a solid marriage. Wonder what wife #4 will be like.
This is my friend’s third marriage too. It’s very complicated.
Well, they still haven't learned to communicate if he popped a pre nup on her two days before the wedding and she is hiding legal paperwork from him.
chrisam314
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by chrisam314 »

sailaway wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:19 pm
Planner01 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:16 pm
chrisam314 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:12 pm Sounds like a solid marriage. Wonder what wife #4 will be like.
This is my friend’s third marriage too. It’s very complicated.
Well, they still haven't learned to communicate if he popped a pre nup on her two days before the wedding and she is hiding legal paperwork from him.
Sounds like they could make good money filming a reality show :sharebeer
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mrspock
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by mrspock »

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Planner01
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by Planner01 »

We are diverting here away from the financial question.

Back to my original question.... if assets from before marriage are kept separate, including the house, could she get half of the value of it in a state that does not recognize community property? Ignore the prenup as she’s not sure if it was filed.
Actin
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by Actin »

Planner01 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:37 pm We are diverting here away from the financial question.

Back to my original question.... if assets from before marriage are kept separate, including the house, could she get half of the value of it in a state that does not recognize community property? Ignore the prenup as she’s not sure if it was filed.
1) It depends on the state and the length of time they were married.
2) I can tell you right now that the prenup will easily get thrown out for a number of reasons. Prenups are very specific legal contracts, and they must follow a certain protocol to be valid. The judge definitely isn't going to be favorable towards him for springing it on her two days before the wedding and her having no legal counsel about it.
3) You need to talk to an attorney tomorrow. Not Friday, tomorrow
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FIREchief
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by FIREchief »

Planner01 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:37 pm Ignore the prenup as she’s not sure if it was filed.
What is this "filed" that you speak of? Filed with who?
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000
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by 000 »

I don't think contracts usually need to be "filed" with anyone.

I might be able to sell my house to someone with a contract written on a napkin.

I might be able to enter into all kinds of contracts without writing anything down at all. :!:
sailaway
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by sailaway »

They would not have an absolute right to the house. Only a local attorney could tell them their chances of getting the house or half its value, as well as any other likely scenarios in that state.

Her attorney should also know about the pre nup, so that they are not blind sided when he claims that there is one. Unless, of course, she plans on committing perjury, which could well result in her getting nothing.
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Planner01
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by Planner01 »

FIREchief wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:45 pm
Planner01 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:37 pm Ignore the prenup as she’s not sure if it was filed.
What is this "filed" that you speak of? Filed with who?
I am not sure. That’s what she told me, that she found it in his closet and doesn’t believe that he turned it to the attorney. I am not sure if that’s required, I’ve never had to do that. Maybe it is not necessary as long as it’s signed by both 🤷‍♀️.
rascott
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by rascott »

Planner01 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:59 pm
FIREchief wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:45 pm
Planner01 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:37 pm Ignore the prenup as she’s not sure if it was filed.
What is this "filed" that you speak of? Filed with who?
I am not sure. That’s what she told me, that she found it in his closet and doesn’t believe that he turned it to the attorney. I am not sure if that’s required, I’ve never had to do that. Maybe it is not necessary as long as it’s signed by both 🤷‍♀️.

A legal contract is a legal contract. You don't "file" a contract with anyone to make it valid.

If he owned the house prior to their marriage, and it was part of the prenup that it would remain his..... not sure she'll have much success getting her hands on it.
Last edited by rascott on Wed Aug 26, 2020 8:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
MotoTrojan
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by MotoTrojan »

Hope he made copies. I’d find a new friend.
Trader Joe
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by Trader Joe »

Planner01 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 6:59 pm This question is not pertinent to me but a friend. She is the third wife of a high payed surgeon. She makes a good amount of income herself, but not as much as him. He insisted on a prenup before they got married which she signed (angrily) two days before the wedding. She doesn’t think that he ever filed the papers with the attorney as she later found them in his closet and purposely hid them.

Regardless of the prenup, if he keeps his assets in his name, include the title of the house (over $1M, no debt) and never merge them with each other (no children in common. They each have kids from previous spouses), if they were to get divorced say in 5 years, would she get half of the value of the house?

The house is what my friend wants most. Don’t comment on the motivations here please. I know, I know. I don’t agree and saw it even before he proposed. I am sure he can see it too.

Not in a community property state.
No she would not.

This highly paid surgeon sounds like he is very smart and is very experienced in these matters.
Good Listener
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by Good Listener »

I can tell you that the prenup will never hold up if it was signed two days before the marriage and if there were no attorneys involved. Tell your friend to go see a lawyer right away and learn her rights in the "unlikely" circumstance that this marriage fails.
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by BuddyJet »

Planner01 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:14 pm
arcticpineapplecorp. wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:06 pm depends on:
1. if the prenup was completed or not.
2. are they a community property state.
3. he can go against a prenup and give more if he wants to but isn't required to.

If she wants to ensure her right to half the house, the easiest thing to do would be to add her name to the deed, joint tenants with rights of survivorship. Is he not willing to do that?
He’s not willing to put her name on the house. My friend has a modest house in her name which she bought before they met and rents it out. He wants the house to go to his 3 under age kids. This is his third marriage, where he’s paying the second wife $20k a month for alimony and child support. Poor guy has been burned many times and is protecting himself.
I am not a lawyer but from my divorce and prenup:

Was the house in question his before marriage? If so, separate property usually remains separate unless mingled. This could change depending on kid custody.

Prenups are not normally filed anywhere but the lawyers usually keep executed copies for their files.

Was she advised by separate counsel before signing? If not, weakens validity. Two days before wedding weakens also.

Even if prenup is thrown out, separate property is still separate.
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Gnirk
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by Gnirk »

Is there a time limit on filing the pre-nup? Is she the one who is hiding it, or him? If she's the one hiding it, I feel sorry for him.
My DH and I also have a pre-nup, which was filed, and we are in a community property state. He had the house we live in built the year before we were married. We've been married 25 years, and six years ago he added my name to the deed and we are JTWROS. This is the second marriage for both of us, we have kept our finances separate, and our respective children will inherit our separate assets.
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by Lee_WSP »

Gnirk wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:10 pm Is there a time limit on filing the pre-nup? Is she the one who is hiding it, or him? If she's the one hiding it, I feel sorry for him.
My DH and I also have a pre-nup, which was filed, and we are in a community property state. He had the house we live in built the year before we were married. We've been married 25 years, and six years ago he added my name to the deed and we are JTWROS. This is the second marriage for both of us, we have kept our finances separate, and our respective children will inherit our separate assets.
Filing is a state specific requirement
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by dvvader »

:shock:

You're friend sounds like a real peach.
cacophony
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by cacophony »

Even in a community property state any assets acquired before the marriage are considered separate property, though with a house I imagine this could get more complicated if maintenance, taxes, and improvements are paid from joint funds.
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by Cruise »

Good Listener wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 8:37 pm I can tell you that the prenup will never hold up if it was signed two days before the marriage and if there were no attorneys involved. Tell your friend to go see a lawyer right away and learn her rights in the "unlikely" circumstance that this marriage fails.
IANAL, but common knowledge is that courts only uphold prenups when each party has independent representation and terms of the contract are "fair."

Essentially, if she did not have an attorney review the prenup, then there is no prenup.
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by bottlecap »

Why is a spouse of a highly paid surgeon, with a $1 million home, and a history of divorces looking for free advice on the internet through her friend?

She makes good money. She should spend an hour with an attorney if she wants to find out. It might cost her $500.

JT
sjl333
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by sjl333 »

Stories like this make me lose faith in humanity.
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by Lee_WSP »

cacophony wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:25 pm Even in a community property state any assets acquired before the marriage are considered separate property, though with a house I imagine this could get more complicated if maintenance, taxes, and improvements are paid from joint funds.
Maintenance issues are usually treated like a consumed item such as food. Same with taxes. Payments towards principal is another thing. The question is whether it only benefited one party. You can always deconstruct it via statements. The benefiting party would just have to repay the community and then that would be split up equitably.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by ResearchMed »

sailaway wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:19 pm
Planner01 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:16 pm
chrisam314 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:12 pm Sounds like a solid marriage. Wonder what wife #4 will be like.
This is my friend’s third marriage too. It’s very complicated.
Well, they still haven't learned to communicate if he popped a pre nup on her two days before the wedding and she is hiding legal paperwork from him.
Even IF she did sign the pre-nup AND it is secure with the attorney(s) (??), if he really waited until a very few days before the planned wedding, she may well have grounds to have it tossed. She would need to speak with an attorney about that, and it might depend upon state law where they live.

Did she have her OWN attorney to review the pre-nup?

Maybe they are indeed happy.
Marriages can be strange critters, and usually, there are only 2 people who have a good idea of what it's like (and, ahem, it might not be the same idea for both!).

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123
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by 123 »

All in all it sounds like they were made for each other. Every time they look or think of each other they really just see themselves (but don't know it).
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wander
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by wander »

Planner01 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 6:59 pm The house is what my friend wants most.
:D
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by truenorth418 »

chrisam314 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:12 pm Sounds like a solid marriage. Wonder what wife #4 will be like.
Maybe he feels that he was badly burned in the first 2 divorces. I can understand how a trip through divorce court can lead to overwhelming cynicism. Although you could sask why get married again at all? A great question. As I have written repeatedly in this forum, as any divorced person can tell you, at the end of the day a marriage today is at its core a legal/financial contract. You either sign on to the government version or you try to design your own.
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by mrspock »

Planner01 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:37 pm We are diverting here away from the financial question.

Back to my original question.... if assets from before marriage are kept separate, including the house, could she get half of the value of it in a state that does not recognize community property? Ignore the prenup as she’s not sure if it was filed.
I'll preface this by saying I'm no attorney, but here's my take:

In general, what was earned before the marriage by one spouse or another, is still deemed their property after a divorce. This is even without a prenup, in a state like California.

Where it gets more foggy is things like appreciation of those assets, which is why this is typically protected by any prenup worth its salt. On the other hand, RSUs/stock options granted after the marriage (typically split), stock purchases with newly earned money, lottery winnings, salary etc would typically be split down the middle.

To answer your question directly: If he owned the house before, and was the only one paying the taxes & mortgage on it (aka "co-mingling"), I find it pretty unlikely she's walking with a dime of that house even if the prenup is nullified. It was his before the marriage after all, common sense says it's his after the divorce unless he explicitly promised it to her somehow or "co-mingling" occurred.

Honestly, everyone should just get a good lawyer (but interview a few before committing to one), they will be able to give state specific advice on this situation.
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by Kelrex »

truenorth418 wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 1:51 am
chrisam314 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:12 pm Sounds like a solid marriage. Wonder what wife #4 will be like.
Maybe he feels that he was badly burned in the first 2 divorces. I can understand how a trip through divorce court can lead to overwhelming cynicism. Although you could sask why get married again at all? A great question. As I have written repeatedly in this forum, as any divorced person can tell you, at the end of the day a marriage today is at its core a legal/financial contract. You either sign on to the government version or you try to design your own.
It's curious why he wasn't more responsible then about protecting himself. Am I understanding correctly that he never actually filed the prenup he sprung on her right before the wedding? That seems reckless. I won't even comment on not discussing it before getting engaged in the first place.

I so agree with you about the marriage contract, it has so many financial implications that people are often all too willing to sign without even understanding it and without discussing as partners, much less customizing it to their own needs and values.

As for what your friend should do? Talk to a lawyer.
I don't even mean that cynically, just that she should have had the chance to talk to a lawyer before even signing the document. It's reasonable for her to do it now, figure out what the situation is, figure out what she wants from the situation, and have a mature conversation with her partner about what she feels is fair an equitable and if the existing, possibly not even valid agreement isn't, then work together to craft one that's amenable to both partners.

If they can't manage that, then that's very concerning.
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Planner01
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by Planner01 »

bottlecap wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 10:45 pm Why is a spouse of a highly paid surgeon, with a $1 million home, and a history of divorces looking for free advice on the internet through her friend?

She makes good money. She should spend an hour with an attorney if she wants to find out. It might cost her $500.

JT
I am not the spouse, my friend is and she didn’t ask me to post. I was just curious what the board would say based on a conversation I had with her.
Stupendous
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by Stupendous »

I don't see how she would get half. The house is a pre-marital asset and was paid off before they met. I could see her getting half the increase in value for the duration of the marriage. But she already has her own house and that would most likely go up as well. So almost a wash in net asset gain.
simas
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by simas »

Planner01 wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:54 am
bottlecap wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 10:45 pm Why is a spouse of a highly paid surgeon, with a $1 million home, and a history of divorces looking for free advice on the internet through her friend?

She makes good money. She should spend an hour with an attorney if she wants to find out. It might cost her $500.

JT
I am not the spouse, my friend is and she didn’t ask me to post. I was just curious what the board would say based on a conversation I had with her.
stay out of it - why are you involved at all to be providing her legal advice?? as others said previously, if she wants real answers she needs to talk to real attorney specializing in this area in her/their state. anything else is a disservice. And why in the world she is discussing this with you?

this is a disaster written all over it. 'hiding' things from spouse immediately after marriage *wagging head* - very strong signs of complete lack of trust in that "relationship".
egrets
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by egrets »

dvvader wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 9:16 pm :shock:

You're friend sounds like a real peach.
Someone who springs a prenup on someone two days before the wedding is not exactly a delight.

I wonder why these people got married, sounds like a marriage made in hell.
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bottlecap
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by bottlecap »

Planner01 wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 8:54 am
bottlecap wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 10:45 pm Why is a spouse of a highly paid surgeon, with a $1 million home, and a history of divorces looking for free advice on the internet through her friend?

She makes good money. She should spend an hour with an attorney if she wants to find out. It might cost her $500.

JT
I am not the spouse, my friend is and she didn’t ask me to post. I was just curious what the board would say based on a conversation I had with her.
Well, I should hope not. That would mean you have more than one personality!

The problem here is nobody knows nothing. Many have assumed the doctor "sprung" the prenup on her two day before the wedding. You only said she signed it two days before the wedding. She may have had it for 6 months.

Your friend will have to discuss the facts with an attorney to find out if she can wrest ownership of the home from the spouse and his kids when she files for divorce.

I don't know why you'd want to be involved or even be curious. The less you know and care, the better for you.

JT
stockrex
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by stockrex »

She might asks for everything,

Your friend needs to say no,

House owned by friend BEFORE wedding,

without prenup, judge may give her HALF of the appreciation of value SINCE marriage.

of if the house was $1m when they got married,
now they split and it is worthj $2m,

judge may award her half of the appreciation = $500k

this is how my atty explained it to me.
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Re: Keeping assets separate in marriage

Post by Flyer24 »

Topics must be asked either about yourself or on behalf of someone. It doesn’t appear that the friend has asked for advice from this forum. Thread has run its course.
Note that topics must be directly connected to your (or your friend's or family's) financial life. General comments or complaints about these topics will be removed. If you aren't sure if a topic is OK, ask yourself these questions.

1) Does it relate to finance issues (but it's not an investing question)?

2) Is it personal? In other words, is it about you (or on behalf of someone specific).

3) Is it actionable? Can you do something with the replies that will make a difference in your financial life or the products or services you buy.
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