Millennial married couples in Alabama may be among the 28% who keep their finances separate according to a Bank of America survey. This is more than twice as many as Gen X and baby boomer couples. However, according to experts, this will not necessarily mean their finances are considered to be separate property in a divorce.
In general, in an equitable division state like Alabama, money earned by individuals during the marriage is considered separate property. However, it is possible for an attorney to argue that this should be considered shared marital property. If a judge agrees, the property could be split equitably. This means it should be divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Couples who are concerned about maintaining separate property may want to consider a prenuptial agreement; these are also on the rise according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. When couples draw up a prenup, they have the opportunity to talk honestly about their finances.
Not every couple agrees that a prenup is the right solution, but there are other steps they can take to protect their finances in case of divorce. They should keep track of any assets they bring into the marriage. They should also keep inheritances separate from marital finances and not use them for shared assets, such as home repairs.
Couples may be able to negotiate an agreement for property division instead of going to court. One potential disadvantage with litigation is that both individuals might be unhappy with the judge's decision, and there might be little recourse available. An attorney may be able to assist a person with either negotiations or litigation. It may be beneficial if a person thinks ahead of time about what issues they are willing to compromise on and what their priorities are.