Washington couples who are planning to get married may also want to consider a prenuptial agreement. A prenup lays out a plan for how property will be divided in case of a divorce. Even couples who are not getting a prenup may want to visit a financial planner or a legal professional to find out how marriage will affect their ownership of property and how it will be divided if the marriage does not last.
A prenup can be particularly important if one or both individuals own a business. First, the prenup can establish the worth of the business at the time of the marriage and how its value will be established if the individuals divorce. If the two individuals own the business together, it can specify which spouse will buy out the other and how. If only one owns the business, it can state the percentage the other spouse can expect from the business. It can also specify how profits and losses will be shared.
Other types of property addressed can include income, inheritances and real estate. The prenup may establish whether one person will pay support to the other. It is better to create a prenup long before the wedding. If it is created too close to the wedding, it could appear as though one spouse was rushed into it.
If there is no prenup, in Washington, a community property state, all shared property is subject to equal division. The couple may negotiate an agreement that does not necessarily mean that everything is divided 50/50 but that instead has one person keeping certain items while the other person keeps other assets. If they have children, custody, visitation and support must be negotiated whether or not there is a prenup, or the couple will have to go to court.