A new client sought to explore the impact of a spouse’s decision to divorce after 28 years of marriage. They had married young with their large families enjoying the occasion with them. He had diligently saved gifts of money, annual bonuses, and tax refunds over the years to own a small house and summer cabin before they had met. Over the years, he turned a cherished hobby into a very successful business and was able to purchase a larger home and upgrade the cabin. Protection Starts Now Regrettably he had not sought to protect his property interests with a marriage contract prior to the wedding. He was ‘asset rich and cash poor’ while his partner had managed the properties, household chores, extensive entertaining, and organized all other activities. While the spouse’s efforts allowed the client the freedom to expand his corporate holdings sharing together the homes and lifestyle, she held no assets of any kind in her name. She had been and continued to be wholly financially dependent on the client. The client chose to pay the difference in their respective net worth, the equalization payment, through the sale proceeds of the family home and his beloved cabin in order to preserve the integrity and control of his ongoing business. Think about It Now The choices made prior to and during marriage will result in different consequences. Before living together or becoming aware of an inheritance or settling a lawsuit for personal damages or of any other life changing event, think about: Taking a closer look with a family law lawyer at any domestic contract already signed such as a cohabitation agreement, marriage contract or separation agreement to ensure it continues to meet all your needs (what is necessary) and desires (what you want). Survey your economic vulnerability by consulting with your corporate and personal accountants, estates lawyer, and any other professional to help you understand your complete financial picture today and as you age. If you had to share your assets with your partner or spouse or faced a sudden economic downturn, what safeguards are in place for your business, your health and your children’s welfare? Are insurance policy premiums in good standing and the coverage sufficient? Do your Powers of Attorney for Continuing Care and Property identify the best person as your Attorney? Do you need to amend or vary the documents? Do you have sufficient liquid assets to protect your family in case of a sudden economic downturn? For more information on these complex legal issues, please contact Lorisa Stein’s Office.