When Relationships End…
Over the Fourth of July weekend we found out that it’s over for Scott Disick and Kourtney Kardashian. Kardashian, 36, and Disick, 32, shared nine years and three children together despite the fact that their relationship was frequently strained by Disick’s drinking problem, partying ways, and his regular stays in rehab including one earlier this year. I bet we all saw that one coming!
The early stages of a romantic relationship and marriage are usually of joy and happiness. When a couple gets married there is little time to contemplate the possibility that maybe someday the relationship may fail, but it can! (Just ask Kourtney Kardashian). Nobody likes to think about that possibility and for the most part, couples trust each other with everything including their assets, even when those assets that are non-marital, that is, the spouse owned the asset before entering into the marriage. The act of mixing non-marital and marital assets (like joint accounts or transferring title of solely-owned property to the marriage) is called “co-mingling”.
The problem that arises when one co-mingles marital with non-marital assets is that in the event that the relationship does fail, equitable distribution may be required and this may mean that a person who did not intend to give up ownership of non-marital assets may end up losing half of their interest in them because he or she failed to keep them separate. Don’t make this rookie mistake!
Failing to keep non-marital assets free from mixing with marital assets creates a presumption that a gift was intended to the other spouse and the burden is on the person that co-mingled non-marital funds to overcome this presumption. Establishing a trust and transferring to it assets that are non-marital, is a great way to keep them protected from the reach of an ex-spouse and by managing it in such a way that marital assets are never transferred into the trust. A Prenuptial Agreement is another commonly used and effective method to protect non-marital assets.
There are other alternatives to ensure that your non-marital (and marital) wealth is protected, but you must seek legal counsel to make sure you can take advantage of all the options available to you. Our firm specializes in wealth and asset protection and can help by providing you with more detailed information and tailored strategies to meet your individual needs.
It’s a Wild world. Are you protected? SM
For more information on successful Florida estate planning and asset protection techniques, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Partners, P.A. at 954-944-2855 to schedule your free consultation.