There are many married couples that choose to keep most, if not all, of their finances separate. While each person in this arrangement may feel a sense of independence if they should decide to go their separate ways later on, keeping separate accounts does not guarantee that each person will keep all their assets in the event of a divorce.
California is a community property state
Since California is a community property state, most assets acquired during the marriage belong in a community property category. There are few things that are exempt from this California regulation, such as:
- A gift, inheritance or trust fund given to one of the spouses
- Assets gained before the marriage
- Property acquired after separation
Even with these asset types, it can be unclear who the asset should go to. If, for example, one spouse’s money is used to purchase a joint asset such as a family home, it can be hard to identify as individual property.
No matter what asset division laws a state has, there are some ways to protect your best financial interests in the event of a divorce. The first strategy is a proactive one. Getting a prenuptial agreement can formalize expectations regarding marital property. Another proactive tip is to make both digital and paper copies of account statements right before you get married. Having those records stowed away may come in handy to establish a snapshot of your finances right before your marriage.