How can I prevent my sole assets from becoming marital property?

When you get married, there's a saying that goes "What's yours is mine, and what's mine is yours." Connecticut couples understand that's how things typically go in a marriage. Much of what you and your spouse acquire during the marriage is shared with each other. However, there may be assets that you acquire before your marriage that you want to keep as non-marital property in the event of a divorce. Or while you are married, you may want to keep an inheritance as separate property. There are ways to accomplish this, but they require scrupulous recordkeeping and strict adherence to rules regarding commingling property.

If you have something of value that you would like to keep in the family in the event of a divorce - such as a home or business - then it's best to get a prenuptial agreement. That way, you will have it writing that your spouse is not to take it in a divorce. It's also a good idea to keep records of everything you owned before the marriage so that it can be shown to be non-marital property.

Keep the assets separate during the marriage. If you receive an inheritance or compensation from a personal injury lawsuit, keep it in a separate account. If you want to purchase an item - such as a car or motorcycle - and make it non-marital property, don't use any marital funds. Once money is put into a joint account, it can become marital property and therefore subject to division in a divorce.

Finally, don't make any assumptions about property division. A house, vehicle or business owned before marriage can become marital property if your spouse help improved the value in any way - such as through upkeep, maintenance or assisting clients. Seek advice from a lawyer if you have any concerns about how your property could be split in a divorce.